In my Fundamentals of Journalism class, I assign the students “beats.” They must write stories related to this “beat.” One of those is crime, and this week, a student submitted a story about four car break-ins on the University of Technology campus last semester. While I appreciated the idea, I told her it was “old news,” as it happened months ago, and that she must find a new angle.
Well, I could now provide her with that fresh angle. Last night, I had a lecture that ended close to 9pm. I headed out to my car, which was parked in a well-trafficked area. A busy area, yes, but not well-lighted. I have to use the light on my phone to make sure I don’t fall down, as many lights are not working, and the sidewalks are degraded and cracked in many areas. Being an old pregnant woman, I definitely don’t want to fall.
As I was walking to my car, I noticed a truck blocking it, running with the lights on. Then I noticed several security guards standing around my car. I thought it strange but went to unlock the car. After I did so, one of them asked, “Is this your car?” I said yes. They then pointed out the smashed back window. I immediately knew someone had stolen my iPod. I had left it in the cup holder. I usually don’t leave anything in the car, but yesterday I forgot.
The thief had smashed the small “pivot” window in order to access the IPod. And glass is all over the baby’s car seat.
Soon a group of about eight security guards amassed at the car, all standing around, not doing much, staring at me. One man identified himself as in charge of security told me that the lights went out right around this area a couple of weeks ago. They have made a request to have them fixed to no avail. They said they noticed the broken window on a regular patrol.
I am wondering how nobody noticed the incident at the time. It must have made quite a bit of noise. Another person in charge eventually showed up, told me to take pictures of the car and didn’t say much else.
Nobody took a report. Instead they wrote down my name (how will that help anything?) and advised that I go to make a report at the Papine Police Station. “They could get fingerprints,” someone said. I refused, as I did not feel safe driving up there alone at nine o’clock at night.
I have been wondering about campus security for awhile now. Female students say they are not afraid on campus, but that they are afraid to take taxis. One student was held up last semester by knifepoint, and another group was held up last week by gunpoint, all their bags stolen.
On campus, authorities can do more to protect students and their belongings. More lights, more patrols. Off campus, that is another matter. I am just grateful nothing worse happened.