Think it’s a free pass?

Since the Spring semester began, seven Northern Kentucky University parking permits have been stolen out of students’ vehicles.

With the rising prices of parking permits, the University Police is seeing more cases of permits being stolen and even forged.

“Defaced Parking Permits” is the official term used to describe forgeries. Julie Hess, a specialist in parking services, said one student attempted to color the yellow 2007 permits with an orange marker to look like the 2008 permits.

Students have also attempted to scan or copy the permits.

Parking Services said students should be more careful during the summer when many leave the windows down.

Officials, however, randomly inspect permits throughout the day.

While forged permits are more noticeable, all permits have a tracking number.

Forged or stolen permits are reported to UP. Harold Todd, director of UP, said students caught in violation are prosecuted.

When a stolen or forged permit is found, officers immobilize the vehicle with a “boot” device.

When the student returns to the car, they receive both a criminal and a campus citation before being referred to the Dean of Students Office.

According to Todd, the standard sentencing for having a stolen or altered permit is ‘diversion’ where the defendant is given a set number of community service hours, determined by the judge.

“Once the community service is completed, the arrest is erased off the subject’s criminal record,” Todd said.

Aside from community service, the student can also face having an educational sanction added to his or her record and even academic probation.

Although these violations are not reflected on the student’s transcripts, they are on file in the Dean of Students office and can be referred to in any situations of subsequent violations.