Car thefts target open vehicles

Three car break-ins were reported on CLU’s Thousand Oaks campus the week of Feb. 18. Campus Safety is taking measures to warn students, faculty and staff to protect their belongings from future thefts.

Various electronic valuables were stolen from unlocked cars parked on the west side of campus, near the residence halls. Although California Lutheran University’s crime rate is relatively low, Campus Safety Director Fred Miller said that students should remain cautious.

All unattended vehicles should be locked with the windows rolled up and the alarm set, if possible. Anything of value should be removed from the car or locked in the trunk out of sight, according to Miller’s campus-wide email alert.

“There is really not a lot on it, just more of a reminder to students as to do not leave valuable stuff in your car,” said Miller. “If you are going to leave it in your car, lock it in the trunk, make sure your alarm’s set, make sure your car is locked and make sure your windows are up.”

Since receiving the email, Alexa Jordan, a junior commuter student, checks twice that her car is locked and makes sure to store her valuables in the trunk.

“I just always make sure I have my eye on things and my stuff,” said junior Jared Levin.

This incident was similar to the vehicle thefts that occurred about a year and a half ago on a larger scale. Unlocked cars were targeted and high-value items were stolen. Two years ago, Campus Safety received a tip from a student who sighted a suspicious-looking person on campus who was attempting to steal bicycles.

“It’s an opportunity that’s really what it comes down to,” said Campus Safety Supervisor Lance Inglis. “If you don’t want to be a victim, lock your car.”

Last week’s thefts were reported to Campus Safety; however, nothing can be done to locate the perpetrator because no forced entry occurred.

“We took the report on it, we advise them to contact the sheriff’s department if they wanted to, but there is nothing we can do on it, no physical evidence,” said Miller.

These thefts, and the ones that occurred last year, were both crimes of opportunity. The thief sought out unlocked vehicles, or vehicles with rolled-down windows, and searched for electronics and other valuables.

“Ninety-five percent of vehicles that have had items stolen have had no signs of being broken into,” said Inglis.

Miller explained that if a crime is detected on campus, Campus Safety officers will attempt to arrest the person and contact the Thousand Oaks Sheriff’s Department.

“We have the powers of arrest just like you have citizen’s powers to arrest,” said Miller. “We are not a law enforcement agency, a police department as such in the state of California. So what we would do is we would observe the crime being committed, we would, if it’s safe, attempt to detain the person and then we would call the sheriff’s department.”

For more information, or to report a crime or any suspicious behavior, contact Campus Safety at (805) 493-3911.

 

Ashley Adelman
Staff Writer
Published March 13, 2013