XUPD increases surveillance amid rise in break-ins
BY: hunter Ellis, Managing Multimedia Editor
Four vehicles were vandalized on Monday night in the Teal Lot of University Station, continuing the recent trend of car break-ins on and near campus.
The windows on all four vehicles were smashed, and the glove compartments and consoles of each of the vehicles were rummaged through.
University Station residents were notified that the vandalism had occurred at 9:33 a.m. on Tuesday morning by email. In part, that statement read:
“Please check your vehicles. If you have been vandalized, please make sure to file a police report.”
XUPD and Norwood police were at the scene of the incidents and first investigated the situation, identifying the area in which cars were vandalized, and collecting witness statements from those who were affected by the vandalism.
Pictures from the scene depict XUPD assisting students with shattered windows in the University Station Teal Lot. Four cars had windows which were shattered.
University Station is an off-campus facility, which means that Norwood Police have the primary jurisdiction for patrolling those lots. However, according to XUPD Police Chief Robert Warfel, XUPD and members of Physical Plant provided direct assistance because the owners of the vehicles were Xavier students.
Warfel noted that based on the initial investigation, there were not any noticeable links between which cars were targeted. Traditionally, potential links could be the type of car or the types of items stolen from the cars, but no such similarities exist in this case.
“The only similarity appears to be the method of damaging which involves breaking the glass to gain access to the vehicles,” Warfel said.
The primary result of the incident was the damage to the vehicles themselves, according to Warfel. While there were two instances of loose change and money stolen from the cars, little property loss from the inside of targeted vehicles has been reported by students.
In order to attempt to gain evidence on the potential perpetrator of the vandalism, Assistant Police Chief Dennis Eng noted the officers brushed the scene for fingerprints, but due to the weather conditions, no traces were found.
At noon today, University Station residents received a follow-up message insisting that the problems were not limited to UStation, citing over 200 vandalisms at the University of Cincinnati on Monday night and expressing a heightened concern for safety in the area.
The management at University Station declined to comment to Newswire.
This is not the first time that of Xavier students have been vandalized in parking lots this month.
Two weeks ago, 12 cars in the R1 lot on campus were vandalized. According to a statement released by XUPD after the event, each of the vehicles had a shattered window, but 10 out of 12 of the vehicle owners reported nothing of value was stolen from their vehicles.
Warfel stated that crimes of this nature occur more frequently as the spring season arrives.
According to WLWT in a 2015 report, Norwood police warned residents to be “on the lookout” for car break-ins during the spring. In 2017, WKRC reported that Norwood police were searching for two suspects tied to a string of break-ins across the city of Norwood. Then in March 2019, Fox19 reported that 15 similar car vandalisms occurred over the span of one week.
Monday night’s break-ins are not isolated to Xavier’s campus, according to Warfel. Vehicles on the streets of Norwood, as well as vehicles at the University of Cincinnati, were also damaged.
In order to combat car break-ins, XUPD has put into place more surveillance measures in an attempt to catch or prohibit further vandalisms.
“Two portable camera trailers were installed on Monday, March 15… in both R-1 and the space between R-2 and R-3 parking lots, which are more susceptible to this type of criminal activity.”
In addition, Warfel noted there will be more XUPD patrols on the second and third shift in parking lots across campus, including the R-1, R-2, R-3, C-1, C-2, Village, Commons and University Station lots.
Members of XUPD including Warfel also plan to meet with Xavier’s Safety Committee to evaluate the safety infrastructures in place campus-wide.
Temporary additional surveillance measures in place around campus include mobile camera units and additional patrolling. XUPD will continue discussions with the University’s safety committee to discuss better solutions for surveillance in the future.
In the meantime, there are tangible steps that can help students prevent vandalism from occurring to their vehicles, according to Warfel.
“Please be certain to remove valuables from your vehicle and be sure nothing of value is in view. Lock your car and be certain to take extra keys and key fobs with you. Never leave them in a glove compartment or center console,” Warfel said.
In addition, Warfel said that students who leave their vehicles parked for long periods without moving them leave their vehicles more susceptible to being targeted by break-ins.
“If you have a vehicle parked in Residential parking, be certain to move your vehicle periodically so it is not stationary in one place for several days,” he added.
Ultimately, Xavier nor University Station are responsible for the damages caused by potential vandalism that occurs on campus. The liability falls on the students who park in the lots, so it is important for students to remember to take steps to protect their belongings, according to Warfel.
All students who have relevant information on the break-ins or who witness suspicious activity should file a report through XUPD’s Guardian App, or by contacting XUPD dispatch and communications at (513) 745-2000.