Baldwin City residents told to lock cars

When economic times are difficult, crime goes up. That's what Baldwin City Police Chief Mike McKenna thinks has contributed to the increased number of car break-ins.

McKenna said in the past month, 12 break-ins in Baldwin have been reported, some of which happened on Baker's campus. The string of break-ins started in mid-March, with the latest one taking place a few days ago. While some of the cars literally were broken into with rocks or hangers, a majority of the cars were simply left unlocked.

McKenna said the reason most people leave their car unlocked is because they consider Baldwin home, are more relaxed and less guarded about their items. However, the reality is people will take items, he said.

"Thieves always go to the path of least resistance," McKenna said.

He said if it takes longer than 30 seconds to break into a house, thieves are less likely to break in. This time is even shorter for cars.

One popular item to steal is GPS systems. Out of the 12 cars broken into, six had GPS systems stolen.

Freshman Ethan Bailey's car was in the Zeta Chi fraternity parking lot when it was broken into a few weeks ago.

His car was one of the six with GPS systems. Since the break-in, Bailey has been careful about what he leaves in his car.

"Pretty much the only thing I leave in there of value is change. I bring everything else into my room," he said.

Director of Physical Plant Gary Walbridge said security patrols campus 24/7 all year, either on foot, in golf carts or security cars.  Security does its best to patrol the greek houses as well.

Following the string of break-ins, security focused on patrolling parking lots, but is now back to the normal patrols of the campus.

"You get a fake sense of security and next thing you know someone will take advantage of that," Walbridge said.

All three said the best way to be protected against break-ins is to keep car doors locked and keep valuables out of plain sight.

McKenna said he encourages anyone who may know anything about these break-ins to contact the Baldwin City Police Department, with the option to remain anonymous.
 

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