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University Actively Addressing Vehicle Vandalism and Thefts

The plan includes significant increases to the surveillance of surface lots and garages.

The University of Rochester is embarking upon a multi-point plan to address and deter the vehicle vandalism, break-ins, and thefts that have risen sharply in recent months in parking lots and garages across the University campuses.

Additionally, officials are asking everyone who parks on campus for any amount of time to remove personal belongings and valuables from their vehicles.

“Gratefully, we are able to join together with local law enforcement partners to target our collective resources to make our community safer,” said Gerald Pickering, Interim Chief, Department of Public Safety. “We are fed up with this activity and feel horrible for the members of our University community—students, faculty, staff, as well as guests visiting our campuses—who have dealt with their car being vandalized, broken into, or even stolen, especially those discovering this situation after a long shift or workday.”

During the first six months of 2023, there have been more than 200 reported University parking lot theft/vandalism incidents; last year in total there were 81.

“With more than 15,000 University parking spaces in lots and garages, the Department of Transportation and Parking Management wants everyone to feel safe and secure when parking here,” said Mike Chihoski, senior associate vice president, University Facilities and Services. “We know this is a community-wide problem right now and we appreciate that local leaders are full-on addressing these crimes, but we need to also respond by putting additional measures in place to help protect people’s property.”

While the details of the University’s plan to address these crimes will not be made publicly available, it does include significant increases to the surveillance of surface lots and garages, and the installation of physical barriers to limit unauthorized access to several lots.

How to protect yourself against “smash and grabs”

The departments of Public Safety and of Transportation and Parking Management are asking everyone to take care to remove from their vehicles valuable items or anything that may appear appealing to thieves. Many of the recent thefts are referred to as “smash and grabs.” Valuables left in plain view in the vehicle motivate criminals to quickly break a window and grab them.

Always take your valuables with you. When possible, keep the inside of your car empty.

If you see any suspicious vehicles loitering around campus parking lots or garages, call or text DPS at (585) 275-3333.

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