Campus on high alert

With over a dozen car thefts on campus within a two-week span, Northern Kentucky University is experiencing an unusual increase in criminal activity – and a decrease in student responsibility.

Since Sept. 1, the NKU Department of Public Safety has responded to 15 car thefts in various lots across campus. In every case, the victim’s car was unlocked and the break-in “could have been prevented,” according to Police Chief Jason Willis.

There was no force used in any case and an intruder seemed to be traveling from car to car and from lot to lot looking for unlocked cars with valuables inside. According to the daily police log, there were multiple reports made on individual days.multiple reports were made on separate days.

Items such as parking passes, iPods, GPS systems and wallets were swiped from the unlocked vehicles.

Willis said the spike in car thefts is “a little unusual” and the number is higher than in previous years. Because every case was a “crime of opportunity,” he said future occurrences can be easily prevented.

Although there is an increase in the number of car thefts happening in such a short amount of time, many students say they already keep their valuables locked and out of view in their car or with them in class. “I keep valuables like laptops, cell phones and wallets on me at all times. I make sure to lock my car doors and roll up windows. I always park on school lots,” said Tim Krajewski.

The increase also makes some students uneasy about parking on campus, like junior Taylor Romer. “Yes a little, especially when it comes to parking in the parking garage,” she said when asked about her comfort level. “Since it is more secluded, I would think more theft would occur there.”

The thefts occurred in both Kenton and Welcome Center garages, but 11 out of the 14 reports took place in the open lots across campus.

Willis said students should make sure there are no valuables in view (hiding them in the trunk is an option), roll windows up and lock the doors before going to class. In these cases, Willis said he is not blaming students, but instead striving to educate the community on how to prevent becoming a victim to car theft.

In addition to informing students about what to do to prevent the crimes, the Department of Public Safety is increasing foot and bike traffic across campus and bringing in new tactics to catch the criminals.

Currently, the department has no facts on who the intruder or intruders could be. With any information, contact the Department of Public Safety at 859-572-5500.