UConn students have been hit by a second wave of auto part thefts. Earlier in March, there was a string of tire thefts that left students finding their vehicles useless in the morning. Investigations led by the UConn Police Department (UCPD) never led to arrests.
The ushering in of the new semester brought with it another string of thefts – this time, catalytic converters. So far, according to reports, five cars have had their converters stolen. Included in this lists are cars that were parked in the highly populated area between Snow, a building that is a part of South Campus Residence Halls, and Belden, a building that is a part of Alumni Residence Halls. The catalytic converter, a device that is used to decrease the toxicity of exhaust fumes, can cost up to $2000 to replace, depending on make and model. It can be accessed from underneath the car using a car jack, similarly to how car tires can be stolen.
The UCPD has put out a news release that contains helpful tips about vehicle safety, such as urging students to always lock their cars. While these are good tips in general, they do little to deter or prevent thieves from crawling underneath parked cars.
In addition, the UCPD has increased nighttime patrols in an effort to catch thieves in the act, but the number of parking lots and hours of darkness has lead to a problem that cannot be solved by sheer manpower alone.
UConn needs to implement measures such as increasing the number of security cameras being used to monitor parking lots to combat thefts. For the money students pay in parking passes, more is expected to ensure the safety of cars parked there. One parking pass, for example, for the spots between Snow and Belden costs $454. For that kind of money, students should expect more.
Catching auto part thieves retroactively is incredibly difficult and, as shown by last semester, is often deemed impossible. UConn must do more to ensure that thefts decrease, that criminals can be caught after the fact, and ensure students that their property will be protected from malicious activity.