Brenna Smark, Reporter
Vehicles being stolen from Pierce College Puyallup has become a rising concern for some students. According to public records obtained from the college, four vehicle thefts have occurred between now and April 2016. Grand theft auto doesn’t occur often, but this number is still alarming to many students.
Student Wyatt Lemoine’s car was stolen on Dec. 7 after parking his car in C Lot in the morning.
When he came back at about 3:30 p.m. his car was gone.
Lemoine reported the theft immediately to Campus safety and the Puyallup Police Department. Campus Safety patrolled the parking lots and campus to make sure the vehicle hadn’t been ditched somewhere but didn’t find anything.
After looking at the footage from the security cameras at the entrances and exits of the campus, they were able to see the car being driven out on the West Access Road. The case was handed to the PPD. Lemoine’s car was never located.
District Director of Safety and Security Chris MacKersie gave students ways in which they can protect their cars.
MacKersie was the first to agree that there isn’t much Campus Safety can do in cases such as vehicle theft due to the fact that once the car goes off campus it’s out of their jurisdiction. Campus Safety does, however, take precautions. Officers patrol the campus on a regular basis. MacKersie said students can actually do a lot to prevent these incidents.
Most of the problems that Campus Safety come across are reported by students, so it’s greatly encouraged that the student body be cautious and report any remotely suspicious activity.
“If it looks like there’s a certain individual that’s just walking around campus without going in a building or a set destination, we greatly encourage students to report it because it could be a car thief looking for the next victim,” MacKersie said. “We always have personnel of Campus Safety ready to go and investigate any suspicious activity and we are always friendly in our approach. If it turns out that the individual is just a new student that’s lost, we’ll kindly help them find their location. Otherwise we find it’s better to be safe than sorry and not take any chances.”
Campus Safety stressed that if suspicious activity is reported and the individual in question is found to be guilty of illegal activity, they have a high chance of apprehending the suspect. The people who target cars at Pierce are juveniles who are taking advantage of the open campus and looking for a joy ride. They generally target older model cars due to the fact that the ignition key will be more worn and won’t need an exact match.
They’re caught on the security cameras posted at the entrances and exits of the campus, and the car is most likely ditched in a low populated area close by. Commonly, the vehicle is found after some investigation.
Despite this, Campus Safety is aware that these situations can be stressful for students and are working towards stricter precautions. They’re collaborating with the student government to bring up a proposal to the vendors for new security cameras to post up around the parking lots.
MacKersie said he hopes that the end result of this project will help to prevent vehicle theft on campus.
“This will definitely help to deter vehicle thefts and we are certainly keeping our fingers crossed on this project,” MacKersie said.
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