Car thefts lead to security concerns

A recent outbreak of car break-ins on campus has lead to fears of car safety among students and staff at the University.

Inquiries into the extent of car related thefts have revealed that the Innovation Centre (Science Park) and Halifax College car parks were some of the worst hit. Neither have been provided with CCTV coverage by the University.

Josie Williamson, a resident of Langwith E block, was the victim of a break-in towards the end of the Autumn term. She said that in the same week as her car had been broken into she had been aware of 10 other similar thefts, and 3 in the same day. She and her housemate, Frieda Gray, have both had their cars raided since moving into Langwith in September.

Williamson reported that, after parking her vehicle behind her house over the weekend, she was informed by a friend that her side window had been smashed by thieves who stole her CD
Gray had a similar experience in which her side door was burnt off only a fortnight ago, and her CD player removed.

Since the rash of break ins, some students have reported that they may reconsider their use of car parks on campus. When James student Richard Green was asked whether he would consider parking on campus, he replied “probably not…because of safety”.

One Halifax official said “why would you need a car when there is such a good bus service?” I wouldn’t park my car here”.

Henry Ho, a resident of Halifax College, also expressed his concerns at the amount of car break-ins; calling for “more security to protect cars”. In response to these fears, the security department stated that they “the University is always looking to improve the CCTV coverage on car parks” and that patrols are carried out at night on a regular basis.

Further incidents have been reported across campus, including burglaries at Halifax College and James College. Rob Little, the Security Operations Manager of the University confirmed that three vehicles between Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of January were broken into on the West, Chemistry and Innovation Centre car parks. The incidents, which are believed to have been related to one another, involved the breaking of side door windows and the stealing of expensive electronic equipment, such as satellite navigation devices.

CCTV footage on one of the main car parks indicates that two male occupants driving a small hatchback may have been involved. However Little added thatdue to the “poor images” it is not clear what the suspects look like.

He confirmed that “local police are investigating the matter”.

BY Daniel Whitehead

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