The ACU Police Department is encouraging faculty, staff and students to lock their car doors and be safe after a rash of auto burglaries over the Christmas Break. Thieves burglarized five vehicles in the neighborhoods surrounding the campus during that time, and ACUPD reported that all cars were unlocked at the time of the burglaries.
Three of these burglaries took place on Dec. 9 on EN 20th Street, EN 21st Street and College Drive, and the other burglaries took place on Jan. 9 on EN 23rd Street and Westheimer Street.
Valuables stolen from the cars include wallets, checks, a Broadband Hotspot valued at $200 and the woofer speakers.
ACU Police Chief Jimmy Ellison said 51 out of the 69 car burglaries reported across the city of Abilene in December were reported unlocked.
“We are simply making it easier for our cars to be robbed,” Ellison said. “We aren’t even locking our doors, let alone hiding our valuables.”
Abilene Police Department public information officer George Spindler said the APD sees this kind of crime often.
“Patrol Division officers and Criminal Investigation Division detectives are all too familiar with criminals that go around checking door handles to see what vehicles are left unlocked,” Spindler said.
Spindler and Ellison said besides locking car doors, students can guard themselves against car burglaries by hiding valuables or taking them with them when they leave the car, even if it is only for a few minutes.
“The most typical things taken from car burglaries are females’ purses and wallets,” Ellison said. “They immediately take out the money and credit cards and then discard wallet somewhere else.”
Students should also keep a look out when they are out late at night or early in the morning, Ellison said.
“If you see someone suspicious walking around streets or parking lots, get a description of that person and call ACUPD or ACPD,” he said.
Spindler said students should remember to inventory their important valuables by make, model, color and serial number because this information is crucial to recovering stolen goods in the event their car is burglarized.
“Everyone, including our university students, need to realize that they really are the first line of defense in preventing crime,” he said.
Ellison said while ACU students are getting better at reporting suspicious activity, he encourages them to continue.
“We’re kicking off a new year and semester and we really want our campus community to be alert and be aware and report suspicious activity whenever they see it 24/7,” Ellison said.
Students who would like to learn more about crime in Abilene can visit www.raidsonline.com to take a look at specific incidents in and around the ACU campus.