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Car thefts plaguing university students

By Audrey DeAnda
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
September 14, 1999

After UA sophomore Seth Swift had his car burglarized last year, he became more careful about where he parks on campus.

Last year, while it was parked in a Zone One lot near Arizona-Sonora residence hall, someone broke the window to his 1987 Honda Civic and attempted to take his stereo.

Earlier this month, Swift, a physics major, parked in a well-lit area near the university police station to keep criminals away. It didn't work.

While the burglar was unable to steal anything during the first attempt, Swift lost his stereo in the second incident.

"They loosened it the first time and took it the second time," Swift said.

Swift said his car was parked overnight in the campus-area lot because he lives on campus. His car was broken into even though he said he took all of the precautions that police offer to students.

According to university police records, there have been nine car burglaries since Aug. 23. Although Cmdr. Brian Seastone, a UAPD spokesman, said the number of automobile burglaries is consistent with past years, students still need to be aware of ways to avoid being victimized.

"Try to keeps things out of sight," Seastone said. "Don't advertise that you have CDs or a cellular phone in your car."

Seastone said to park in a well-lit area and avoid leaving a vehicle parked for days without checking on it.

"Sometimes people keep their car parked for days at a time," he said.

Seastone added that car alarms are not completely effective, but they do bring some attention to the area.

Since Jan. 1, police said there have been 126 vehicle burglaries on the UA campus.

Based on the amount of car thefts throughout the city, the UA is not a specifically targeted area, Seastone said. But the university can be targeted because during the school year, there are a lot of cars on campus for potential burglars to pick from, he said.

"We know just because of (the) high concentration, people know that a certain type of car would be here," Seastone said.

Steven Arcuri, a chemistry freshman, discovered Thursday that someone had broken into his 1999 Acura Integra while it was parked in the Main Gate garage, 815 E. Second St.

He said his car was parked close to the garage's elevator for about a day and a half.

Arcuri had about $2,000 worth of stereo equipment stolen from his car, though he said he had complete insurance on the system.

Arcuri said he had tinted windows and the equipment was not clearly visible, but he does have an idea of why his car was targeted.

"They probably heard (the system) as I was driving around and followed me into the garage," Arcuri said.

Police told Arcuri that his property would probably not be recovered.

"They took the report and that was it," Arcuri said. "They haven't called me or anything."

Though Swift said police filed a report and took pictures of his car, he does not expect them to find his property.

He does not think police can do anything to prevent cars from being burglarized.

"I wouldn't want someone to look over my car but maybe they could put video cameras on top of the light posts," he said.

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