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Off-campus area break-ins drive some to move

An onslaught of car break-ins near campus has caused some residents to consider relocating.

Since May 1, at least 19 car break-ins in the area north of Lane Avenue have been reported.

Daniel Jones, a second-year in criminology, said his car was broken into during the early morning hours last Tuesday. The next night, valuables were stolen from his roommate’s car. Soon, he began noticing that many neighboring cars also had smashed windows.

Jones said he believes all the break-ins are related, as each incident seems to follow the same pattern.

“They busted out the same window on most of the cars,” he said. “It was always the front passenger window that was broken.”

Stolen items have included iPods, GPS devices and computers, Jones said.

Many of the police reports describe similar incidents. In almost every case, a car window was smashed open, and any valuables left inside were stolen.

Richard Morman, the deputy chief of police at Ohio State, said car break-ins have long been one of the biggest problems facing area law enforcement. However, he said most of the recent break-ins fall under the jurisdiction of the Columbus Police Department and not campus police.

Sgt. Rich Weiner of the Columbus Police Department said it is normal to see more crime in the spring.

“Right around this time every year we do see an increase in property crimes in this area,” he said.

Jones said this isn’t the first time his car has been vandalized. In the past, his car has been damaged and keyed. He said incidents are becoming so frequent that he and his roommates are planning on living elsewhere in the future.

“People don’t respect property,” he said.

Jones said the police are monitoring the area a little more closely as a result of these break-ins, but he feels more can always be done.

“The police have stepped up patrol around here, but that can only deter so much,” he said.

Jones has not been informed of any new developments from the Columbus Police.

A.J. Miller, a third-year in industrial engineering, said his car was broken into twice in the same weekend earlier this year. Although this incident might not be related to the recent break-ins, he said he believes this is a campus-wide problem that deserves more attention.

Morman said the increase of off-campus incidents has not led to any notable problems on campus.

“We have not noticed a big spike,” he said.

Miller said he talked with the police at the time of the break-ins, but he hasn’t received any new information.

“The first time I did the police report I had to do it over the phone,” he said. “The second time, I demanded a patrol officer to come down and take the report personally, and they dusted my car for fingerprints and stuff, but I never heard back.”

Miller said he thinks landlords should utilize spotlights and motion detector lights to help avoid future incidents.

Weiner said most of these crimes can be prevented simply by following a few simple steps.

“Lock your vehicles. Take out items that are in plain view,” he said. “You can prevent a lot of crime just by taking GPS units out, taking out loose change. Anything that can possibly be an easy item to remove and then resell later, which could mean a whole lot of different things.”

Weiner said many OSU students don’t follow these steps because they come from rural or suburban areas where crime like this isn’t as prevalent.

“Criminals are aware of the types of students that are coming to Ohio State,” he said. “They really work on preying on those individuals. It’s just an easy target area.” 

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