Late last week several cars were vandalized at Hilltop and Celeron Apartments, with the wheels and tires being stolen from each car. These vandalizations have continued into early this week as well. In response to these crimes the UConn Police Department is planning to increase patrols and monitor parking lots for suspicious activity. Anyone who has information about the vandalizations is being asked to contact the police.
UConn is not, and should not be, responsible for damages to cars or other items that occur on school property. Insurance claims against the state are subject to very narrow parameters and a crime occurring on state property does not immediately warrant such a result. That said, they do have an obligation to utilize what resources they have at their disposal to prevent these acts. The frequency of these vandalizations over the past several days indicates new steps are required to stem the flow of crimes. Increasing patrols and monitoring parking lots for suspicious activity are good actions to take. However, if vandalizations continue, it is possible the university police department may have to go even further.
The biggest cause for worry is these crimes appear to have been committed by seasoned thieves. Stealing car tires isn’t exactly something a drunk college student does, it requires planning and some degree of skill to pull off without being caught. If the thieves are indeed serious, an encounter with a student during a vandalization could be dangerous. The rate of these crimes indicates that such an encounter is almost inevitable. With this kind of risk present, the university and UCPD must treat the situation seriously. Property can be replaced, but people can’t.
There are several actions UCPD can take beyond what they have already done, such as making recommendations on what a student should do if they encounter vandals. Students should also be informed of possible ways to make it more difficult for vandals to remove tires, if any realistic ones exist. Ultimately, authorities can only do so much to stop these sorts of criminal acts. It seems unreasonable to expect 24/7 police monitoring of all parking lots. Every effort made by UCPD counts and, if the perpetrators can be caught quickly thanks to increased surveillance, it will prevent further damage and hopefully discourage future acts of a similar fashion.