Three auto burglaries were reported in the Witter Field parking lot on Sunday afternoon, in what has become a recent trend on the UC Berkeley campus and surrounding city.
According to the UCPD crime logs, all the victims of Sunday’s incidents had their car windows smashed and reported losses ranging from $300 to over $2000 in stolen property. The incidents occurred within minutes of each other between 11:45 a.m. and 1:41 p.m., according to police.
Last Wednesday, eight auto burglaries occurred along Centennial Drive, which winds through the eastern side of campus above Memorial Stadium, where Witter Field is also located.
UCPD Capt. Margo Bennett said there has been a surge of auto burglaries in that area of the campus in recent weeks, and officers have been increasing patrols and will continue to do so in response.
“We sent out a crime alert and we’re going to be working with parking enforcement to come up with additional signage to warn people,” she said.
According to Bennett, investigations have shown that the trends of auto burglaries move around to different parts of the city and the campus after a short period of time. Though not considered unusual, these activities do concern the police department, she said.
UCPD is conducting some alternative investigations, according to Bennett, but officers have not yet identified any suspects.
“Auto burglaries and theft continue to be an ongoing challenge for the Berkeley community,” said Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, in an email. “Berkeley experiences thefts from unlocked (vehicles) and auto burglaries … on an average of 60 to 110 cases a month.”
Kusmiss said suspects move throughout the city at any given time and commit crimes such as auto burglaries in surges.
“The vehicles that are the most inviting are ones in which valuables are left inside the car,” she said. “Simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference (in) reducing crime.”
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