Police increase parking security

    The UCSD Police Department is making efforts to increase parking lot security on campus, including a partnership with Parking and Transportation Services to fund more community service officer and police officer positions.

    As of April 14, two shifts of three CSOs are specifically assigned to patrol parking lots throughout campus, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. One of the three officers on duty will focus primarily on the lots on East Campus, which encompasses the large East and Regents lots. CSOs will also concentrate on the School of Medicine and Revelle lots.

    According to Officer Al Jenkins, the majority of car thefts this year have taken place from between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., and are then found across the border in Mexico at around 1 p.m.

    The program, funded by Auxiliary and Plant Services, is a response to a rise in crimes involving vehicles, including theft and burglary.

    Last year, 52 vehicles were reported stolen or attempted to be stolen on campus. This number was a 100 percent increase from the year before, when 26 vehicles were either attempted or successfully stolen.

    Despite the increase, CSO Coordinator Peter Kim praised the department’s overall success in keeping UCSD’s car theft rate relatively low.

    “”Even with this — I guess you could call it a crime wave — we’re still doing a pretty good job as far as cars per capita,”” Kim said. He cited that about 37,000 cars come through campus every day.

    Like auto thefts, bicycle thefts are also up this year. The CSOs assigned to patrolling the parking lots will also be able to assist the department’s bike enforcement officer.

    Jenkins hopes to detract such trends with the heightened security. In the past, he has found that arrests led to a temporary decrease in theft rates.

    Auxiliary and Plant Services is also funding another police officer position. Starting next week, Chris McCollough will become the department’s second crime prevention officer. Although she will take over Jenkins’ duties as crime prevention officer next year when he retires, the department will still maintain two officers for the crime prevention division. With the new officer, Jenkins said that the department can better concentrate on “”transportation safety.””

    “”Hopefully, the campus community will benefit,”” Jenkins said.

    John Muir College sophomore Kasey Fleisher, however, thinks there are better alternatives to funding officer positions.

    “”Personally, I was not aware that there was such a pressing crime problem on our campus,”” she said. “”As far as I have heard, our campus is really safe and I think that having more police officers is not going to accomplish much. Maybe they should look into funding more parking, or maybe even lowering tuition.””

    The patrol division of the UCSD Police Department is also working to improve parking lot security by periodically operating auto theft surveillance. Officers in plain clothes survey selected lots around campus, watching for potential thefts and making traffic stops as well.

    Also, in the near future, the department will be working with Farmers Insurance to obtain high-target vehicles, such as the Toyota Camry and the Honda Civic, and equip them with global positioning systems.

    “”We just want to let people know that we have people out in the lots, which is the only thing we have close to a crime problem,”” Jenkins said.

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