WSU Police Warn Students About Rise In Car Thefts

By: Phil White Email
By: Phil White Email

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wichita State University Police are reminding students to do everything they can to secure their cars.

The reminder comes after four cars were stolen from campus parking lots in the last month. All four cars were 1992 to 1995 Honda Accords. Two of the thefts happened in September; the other two happened Monday. All four occurred during the day.

Despite the recent spike, police and students are not concerned the problem is out of control.

"We happen to have a lot of cars out here, just as any church or mall," said WSU Police Detective Jeff Rider. "Wherever there's a large amount of cars parked unattended, things like this happen."

Rider said while police are taking four recent car thefts seriously, they do not believe they have a crisis on their hands.

"We're fairly confident and comfortable with the measures we're taking to keep the students and their property safe out here."

That includes four or five officers on patrol at a time across campus 24 hours a day. Students said they feel safe and they believe their cars are secure while parked on campus.

"I'm not worried or anything," said WSU senior Nic Wentling. "I feel like the police are handling the situation pretty well; letting us all know and giving us a heads-up."

That heads-up came in the form of an e-mail sent to students by WSU Police.

"We encourage people to lock their vehicles and make sure there are no valuables that are readily seen," Rider said. "Put your purse -- things of that nature -- in the trunk."

While all of the vehicles stolen at Wichita State were Honda Accords, which is one of the most-stolen vehicles nationwide because there are so many of them on the road, statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau show pickup trucks, minivans and SUVs are also common targets for Kansas car thieves.

Older cars are often targeted due to demand for parts and because they are simply easier to steal. Frank Scafidi, spokesman for the National Insurance Crime Bureau, said even low-tech security can do quite a bit to deter thieves.

"Really the most cost-effective measure is for people to just use the security that comes with the car and if that means nothing more than locking the doors, rolling up the windows and taking the keys with you, it's amazing how many thefts could be prevented if people just did that," he said.

At WSU, students said they are glad police are keeping them in the loop about the recent thefts and they are thankful for the reminder to keep their cars from becoming easy prey.

"I hadn't heard anything before the e-mail and it was nice to know just what's going on and nice knowing that they're informing the students and watching out for everybody," said WSU senior Joran Matson. "I have a pretty low-profile car, so I'm not too worried. Seems like it's pretty safe, well-lit and everything."

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