Over break, property crime rate up
Posted December 1, 2009 at 12:44 am in News
As the number of people on campus decreases during breaks, the number of crimes typically increases, and this Thanksgiving break was no exception.
During the recent break, four car burglaries, one bike theft and one residential burglary were reported to the Department of Public Safety. According to DPS Capt. David Carlisle, these numbers are unusual compared to typical weeks.
âI would say four auto burglaries in one week is not a typical week,â Carlisle said. âOne burglary and one bike theft wouldnât be unusual, but four burglaries in that short span of four days is more than weâd like to see, and itâs more than we typically see.â
During the holidays, crime trends shift from crimes against persons to property crimes, Carlisle said.
âThe opportunity for students to be robbed is reduced because theyâre leaving,â he said. âWe look at where we are vulnerable: student housing, unlocked bikes, cars left parked in structures or off campus on the street.â
In an effort to reduce car burglaries, DPS initiated Operation GIFT â Group Initiative For Theft prevention â offering free guarded parking spots for USC students, faculty and staff in the Parking Center.
âIf students want to park on campus they have to pay and the alternative to that is parking on the street where they are more vulnerable, so in order to reduce the number of automobile burglaries we offer free parking in the parking structure,â Carlisle said.
This year, 274 people parked their cars in the Parking Center over the holiday break, and none of the cars were burglarized, Carlisle said.
âWe did have one car broken into in Parking Structure D during the holidays, so weâre disappointed about that,â Carlisle said. âThe other three burglaries occurred off campus, but had they been parked in the parking structure, I think we could have avoided those four crimes.â
Looking forward to winter break, Carlisle said DPS will be launching a crime prevention publicity campaign, as well as offer the GIFT program again.
DPS suggests students should make sure their apartments are locked and their property is secured. Carlisle said students might want to stop mail delivery and invest in automatic porch lights when they are away for long periods of time.
âBurglars do know people are gone for Christmas break,â Carlisle said. âStudents should do things to make it look like theyâre not gone for three weeks so they donât become targets for burglars.â
Although crime statistics do fluctuate during the holiday seasons, Carlisle said crime around USC has continued to decline overall.
âWeâd like all of the students to help us keep crime down by not putting themselves in a position to be victims of crime themselves,â Carlisle said.