By Sammi St. Leger
SInce Aug. 30, five vehicles have been stolen on campus at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.
Three vehicles have been stolen from the area between Sixth and Green streets, another from Midtown Lofts parking lot on 512 South Third St. and the fifth theft occurred near Burrill Hall in D-6 parking lot of the 400 block of South Goodwin Ave. Urbana. One of the cars stolen was left unoccupied and running.
“It doesn’t take long to steal a car when it’s sitting there unattended and running. That’s really the biggest step is asking our students and campus community members to be aware of,” said UIPD Communications Director, Patrick Wade.
Wade said tackling the issue takes more than adding extra police on patrol and that the patrol force is already high on campus. It’s a matter of checking security cameras, identifying people and asking community members to be aware of surroundings while following basic safety tips. It’s also imperative those on campus report any suspicious behavior.
“If you see someone walking down the street checking car handles to see if cars are unlocked that’s something that we would want reported to us so we could come check it out,” Wade said.
Community members should never leave their keys in their car. Valuable items should be taken with or hidden, and doors should be locked.
While vehicle thefts remain a concern under investigation, robberies and most recent theft have police especially concerned with physical safety. During the theft near Burrill Hall, a student was walking away from her car when a man approached her, asked her for the time, ripped car keys ripped from her hands, and proceeded to drive off with her car. Wade said while the vehicle thefts remain fairly low, UIPD really wants students to be aware of threats that have potential for bodily harm.
“Remember to walk in groups, don’t walk alone at night, use well-lit high-traffic areas. That’s really the best way to prevent these types of crime, and Safewalks is always available too,” Wade said.
Safewalks is a free service provided by trained students. If students, faculty, or staff feel uncomfortable walking they can call 217-333-1216 and be safely escorted home.
To view the full interview, check out: https://vimeo.com/465101335.