University police encouraging students to take extra precautions amid rise in car thefts


File photo, university police

Wichita State’s main campus saw a rise in car thefts in January.

Five thefts were reported last month. At this time last year, there were no reports of car thefts, according to Wichita State Police Chief Rodney Clark.

Clark said he can’t identify exactly what is causing the rise in break-ins.

“Sometimes with crime stats and everything, you just see anomalies,” he said.

University police are taking extra precautions to help keep vehicles safe.

“We have increased patrols in the lots and we’ve done news releases . . . just reminding people to lock their doors,” Clark said. “A couple of these were from unlocked doors, and one of the things you can do to prevent stuff being stolen out of your vehicle — it sounds simplistic — but it’s to lock your door.”

Not all of the car thefts have been a result of unlocked doors, Clark said. 

“Another one was, someone broke a window out to get something,” he said. “A lot of the times, when people see something through the window, they could break the window to get to it.

“It’s important to lock your car and hide your valuables.”

Clark is also encouraging students to keep an eye out for unusual behavior and report it to the campus police.

“If [students] see suspicious activity, [they need to] report it to the police department, because that’s why we’re here,” Clark said. “If you see anybody walking around . . . you know, somebody’s been walking around the parking lot for a long period of time and they haven’t seemed to find their car yet, that might be suspicious.

“We’ll check it out.”

The university police can be reached at (316) 978-3450. Students are encouraged to call this number for on-campus emergencies rather than 911 to cut down on response times.