Tips for keeping belongings safe in your vehicle


Morgan Anderson

The parking lot outside of the new Steve Clark YMCA. Students are now allowed to park in it for up to two hours if they are using the new facility.

On top of studying, taking tests, and writing essays, a car break-in is the last thing a college student wants to worry about. Fortunately, there are certain steps that can be taken to protect your vehicle and prevent break-ins.

Wichita State Police Department Captain Guy Schroeder said that campus has seen fewer instances of car break-ins so far this year. However, he knows that they are an inevitable reality of college parking lots.

“The unfortunate reality is that car break-ins are going to happen in any place that has a large parking lot,” said Shroeder. “And we have quite a few.”

Because crimes can occur in any place, Schroeder said that no parking lots are more safe than others.

“We know from our training and from viewing video surveillance that some common behaviors of people who commit vehicle-related theft include driving up and down traffic ways in a parking lot, peering into vehicles, checking door handles, and removing license plates,” Schroeder said.

Schroeder says there are several tips for students to protect their vehicles from theft, such as keeping your vehicle locked with the windows rolled up, and not leaving your vehicle running or leaving your keys in your vehicle while it is unattended.

Students should also remove their valuables from their cars if possible, or put them somewhere where they cannot be seen.

“A window can easily be broken to remove the contents, but criminals are less likely to randomly open trunks,” Schroeder said.

Additionally, students should have regular check-ins on their vehicle and belongings. In case of theft, this will help WSUPD by pinpointing the time of the incident.

Finally, students should know their license plate number so they can make sure that their plate has not been stolen or replaced. 

“Criminals have been known to swap out a plate that is tied to a warrant or a stolen vehicle,” Schroeder said.

Some of the steps that WSUPD takes to keep campus parking lots safe are conducting deterrent patrols throughout the day in the busier lots, providing safety escorts to anyone who feels unsafe walking to their vehicle, and monitoring moveable cameras within the lots.

If a student’s vehicle has been damaged, broken into, or stolen while on campus, Schroeder advised that they immediately get to a safe place and call the campus police department. 

He also encouraged students to report any suspicious behavior or accidents they see taking place on campus.

“We encourage people to ‘see something, say something,’” said Schroeder. “The quicker we receive a call, the quicker we can respond to a situation and hopefully apprehend and charge the individuals who committed the crime.”