String of car break-ins highlights need for awareness
Jordan Smith, Staff Writer
September 28, 2012
Filed under News
Is Guilford College as safe from crime as the community believes?
This semester began with a string of car break-ins on campus. A thief stole various items from several cars that were parked on campus during the day.
The most recent theft occurred on Sept. 20. Six thefts have occurred, which is significantly higher than the usual on-campus crime rate in past years.
“The windows (were) broken and things (were) taken out of the cars,” said Director of Public Safety Ron Stowe. “The doors were unlocked or otherwise insecure … the windows were broken and things were stolen.”
Public Safety does not know who is behind the break-ins, and have only received a vague description of a suspicious person. In two incidents, witnesses saw a cream-colored Honda occupied by an African-American man.
Beyond that, the Greensboro Police Department tracked a stolen cell phone to High Point, N.C. and is still looking into that lead.
“We really don’t have any ideas (who the thief is), and we don’t have anything to indicate that it’s a student,” said Stowe. “If I had to guess, I’d say it’s probably not a student. But that’s strictly a guess.
“For someone who is inclined to do these things, the college is a great place. You have all these cars. In the residential section you have these parked cars, and (students) leave them for days at a time without moving them.”
The break-ins have occurred across campus, though most by Dana Auditorium and the Haworth Athletic Fields.
Public Safety is working with the GPD to attempt to stop the thefts, but they do not know when the break-ins will cease.
“We’re trying to increase patrol in the parking lots,” said Public Safety Officer John Matthews.
Public Safety believes spreading awareness is the most important action to take in avoiding larceny.
“We highly suggest you don’t leave valuables in your car,” said Stowe. “If you do need to leave something in car, hide it. … Thieves and people prone to doing these kinds of things typically are selective.
“I hope it has the effect of helping us dispel that this is Guilford and nothing ever happens,” Stowe said. “I have said numerous times: we’re an open campus. Anyone can come in and do stuff. As a community we have to take matters and responsibility for some action upon ourselves, to try to prevent these things from happening.”
Students who become victims of a break-in should report it to Public Safety and the GPD.
“The biggest thing we can do is be aware; take responsibility for the community,” Stowe said. “It’s all of our responsibilities to make this a secure place.”
Public Safety put informative videos on their website about safety to help students take proper precautions on campus.