Wittenberg seeing jump in vehicle break-ins

Wittenberg University entrance. (Photo by: WDTN/Jake Ryle)

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) –A recent string of car break-ins near Wittenberg University’s campus has campus police making sure students are taking the right precautions to make sure it doesn’t happen to them.

Wittenberg Police Lieutenant Mark Lopez says unattended cars at the beginning of the school year is a recipe for trouble.

“It happens every once in awhile, especially when it’s warmer. Especially when we have a lot of students coming back,” he says.

Lopez tells us in his 9 years of serving Wittenberg’s campus — car break-ins are something he sees every year.

“Normally we’ll get a rash, and then they’ll die down for a little bit. Unfortunately they’re a crime of opportunity,” Lopez added.

And while they’re a crime of opportunity, it’s also an opportunity for students like Davante Goins to be proactive. He says the string of break-ins makes him more aware.

“Making sure if I don’t take the iPod or the cell phone, or GPS system with me that I at least unplug it and take it out of broad daylight where people can just look into the car and see it,” Goins said.

Keeping valuables hidden is something Lieutenant Lopez suggests, but another way to keep safe isn’t inside your vehicle.

“We see a lot less car break-ins when you are in a lit parking lot or right underneath a street parking light or something like that,” Lieutenant Lopez said.

Lopez tells us keeping the campus safe requires the help of the community.

“Those are the kind of things–just being a good neighbor. When you hear a car alarm, you can always call down and have somebody cruise through the area,” he tells 2 NEWS.

Students have also been sent emails and text messages warning of people coming to them to “borrow their cell phone”. When the student gives them a cell phone, they take off running with it. Wittenberg Police have had two instances of cell phone theft this week–and they were able to find one of the phones.

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