Colorado State University students, with nowhere to park their cars and no experience living on their own, are prime targets for vehicle break-ins.
According to Fort Collins Police statistics, the residential area near the Colorado State University campus experienced more vehicle break-ins than any other part of town in 2013 and is on track to repeat that trend this year. Area 6, which includes the student-populated apartments Rams Village, The District and Rams Crossing, accounted for 25.9 percent of all vehicle break ins in the seven crime areas of Fort Collins.
Fort Collins Police Officer Matt Johnson said this is due in part to the high population of college students in the area, who keep electronics in their cars, do not have garages to park in and can be careless about locking their cars.
“Vehicle trespassing is one of the more common incidents we respond to,” Johnson said. “The overwhelming majority of vehicle trespasses we respond to involve cars that were not locked.”
Johnson said that students can lock cars, hide valuables, park cars in lighted areas and document serial numbers on valuables as preventative measures.
Alison Sale, a CSU senior studying music therapy, recently had her car broken into while it was parked across the street from the Summit Residence Hall. The back window was shattered, but Sale said nothing was stolen because all of her valuables were hidden.
“I love CSU and the Fort Collins community, and this was such a disappointment, especially if fellow Rams may have been involved,” Sale wrote in an email to the Collegian. “I care about our community, and I want our campus and its surroundings to be safe.”
Sale said the damage to her car cost $500 to repair.
Anthony Prater, a junior studying construction management, lives in The District apartment complex. He said he had no idea car break-ins were an issue in Fort Collins, but students should pay attention to avoid intrusion.
“People should be aware of where these crimes are happening and how to prevent them,” Prater said. “College kids don’t have a lot of money. We can’t afford to fix damage to our cars.”
Officer Johnson said the Fort Collins Police Department has been proactive and reactive to these types of crimes, but it remains an issue for the community, so residents need to practice preventative measures on their own.
“We want to be aggressive about preventing this crime from ever happening to anyone else in our community,” Johnson said. “The number one thing you can do is lock your car.”
Collegian City Beat Reporter Danny Bishop can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DannyDBishop.