UP plans to combat rising number of auto burglaries


USF Police Department (UP) reported 10 auto burglaries more than a month into the semester, which was a surge from the same time span in 2018, which only saw three.

Despite UP’s initial crime alert about the burglaries, the incidents haven’t stopped. In fact, they seem to have gotten worse.

UP reported that six auto burglaries occurred during the early morning hours of March 1. UP estimated that all the robberies happened within a five-hour time frame starting at 2:40 a.m.

“During the overnight hours, six vehicles were entered unlawfully and various items were removed,” UP’s crime alert stated March 1. “These burglaries occurred in USF Parking lot 17 and lot 35 near USF Holly and USF Maple.”

Lots 35 and 17 are located next to Maple Drive. Lot 35 is located east, across the street from the Maple dorms and lot 17 is located directly south of the dorms.

UP detectives are actively investigating these cases, according to UP Captain Meg Ross.

“We can’t publicize our specific plan, but there will certainly be more patrol routes through parking lots,” Ross said. “We also will be on the lookout for at-risk cars during these patrols to try to prevent these break-ins from happening at all.”

UP spokeswoman Audrey Clarke told The Oracle that along with these increased patrols, UP will be taking other actions in an attempt to curb these burglaries.

There are still no suspects in these cases but Ross said that UP is working with other local law enforcement to ensure the safety of USF students and their belongings.

Ross recalled a patrol unit seeing a car with an open trunk during a route. The officer closed the trunk and left a business card on the windshield alerting the owner of what actions had been taken.

In the crime alert, students were advised to take valuable belongings inside with them or lock them in their vehicle trunks, out of sight from the outside.

This isn’t the first time auto burglaries have happened in this area. Parking lots 5E, 35 and 17 — all of which are located within half a mile of the Maple dorms — have experienced nine car break-ins since the beginning of the semester.

When the first round of burglaries was announced, students received the same warning as now: Lock your cars and hide your valuable belongings.