Victims of car thefts on the University of Memphis campus are concerned about safety measures taken by U of M Police Services.
Since the beginning of the fall semester, there have been seven car thefts, four thefts of motor vehicle parts and 11 thefts of items from inside of cars reported in the campus crime log by campus police officers. There have also been a variety of reports of damages done to cars, such as punched-out car door locks and a broken windshield.
Isaiah McGee, a 23-year-old criminal justice major at the U of M, told Police Services on Oct. 1 that his car, which was parked on Central Avenue, was broken into, trashed and was missing a duffle bag and clothes, which he valued at $450.
“No one else’s car was broken into except for mine,” McGee said. “I’m still conflicted; is it (U of M campus) safe? Should I park somewhere else? Should I park in a garage where it’s a little safer?”
McGee said Police Services responded to his call quickly and handled the situation well, but they have not caught the perpetrator yet or followed up with him. He said he thinks Police Services could prevent future thefts by utilizing more cameras and patrol cars.
“I feel like we should have more cameras in our parking lots,” McGee said. “I’d feel a lot better with that. Having a squad car in a parking area or near the facility might just decrease the amount of thefts.”
Lesley Elmore, a 27-year-old architecture student at the U of M, had her car stolen from the honors parking lot on Patterson Street on Nov. 19.
“That parking lot always has about three or four police officers parked in there,” Elmore said. “If I can’t park in the honors parking lot, that shares the same parking lot with the police, where am I supposed to park?”
Elmore said she is displeased with the way Police Services has been handling the theft and said they have not followed up with her since it occurred. She also said the cameras in the lot are low-quality and have not been helpful in solving the crime.
“They (Police Services) actually told me that they have footage of my car going in the lot, but they have no footage of my car leaving the lot,” Elmore said. “I don’t mean to bash the campus police, but they lied about their cameras, and they said how great they were, but they actually sent me footage of my car, and that is the worst camera. They said that they could see a fly on the dashboard. That is completely false.”
Elmore said she thinks police could prevent car thefts by installing better cameras and, because her car was stolen and driven over a curb as concluded by tire marks in the grass, building fences around parking lots. She also said that while she now fears for her car’s safety, she also fears for her own.
“I think that it’s ridiculous that I pay so much money to go here, and I’m scared to park my car wherever,” Elmore said. “Now I even wonder (about safety) just walking on campus. My car’s been stolen, and someone could try to do other things to me. It’s an eye-opener once something happens to you.”
The Daily Helmsman attempted to contact assistant chief of police Derek Myers, but he did not respond.
There have been seven car thefts, four thefts of car parts and 11 thefts of items inside of cars since the beginning of the semester, as reported by the campus police. Some victims have said the campus police were helpful in handling the crime and others have not.