UC Riverside’s campus has felt more lively this quarter as students are once again attending classes in-person following the start of the pandemic. This increase of students, however, has also brought an increase of commuters and car crimes. Students who park in lots around the area have noticed a rise in car related crimes and are wondering what UCRPD is doing to help combat the issue.

In April, an email was sent from UCRPD that a car had been stolen from Lot 27 between the dates of April 13 and 15. The email stated that the car was a 1994 2-door blue Honda Accord and had not yet been located.

Along with this car theft, there have been other troubles like cars being hit while parked. John Perna, a third-year environmental science major, states that he returned to his car having been hit when parked in Lot 30 where he assumed it would be safe while he attended class.

“The back bumper had been partly pulled off the back of the car; it was hanging off on one side basically. Plus there was damage to the paint all the way down to the bumper’s plastic. I was able to thankfully pop it back on to drive.” 

Perna states that he didn’t feel it necessary to report the crime to UCRPD but that this is the first instance of crime he has noticed. Perna added that he is never on campus during the evening when other crimes tend to occur. 

“I just wish people were more respectful of others’ property,” states Perna. 

Students have also taken to sites like Reddit to express their concern about these crimes. On the UCR Reddit thread, there have been reports of catalytic converters, tires and registration tags being stolen. One post even states that they found an Apple Air Tag on their car and reported the incident to UCRPD. UCRPD notified them that there has been an increase in overall crimes and certain older car models are considered more of a target.  

Another Reddit post states that their catalytic converter was stolen while they were parked in Lot 30. According to the post, the student reported it to UCRPD, and they responded that they were the fourth person to report a catalytic theft that day. Other replies in the thread have called for better surveillance in the parking lots, especially in Lot 30, which is a lengthy walk from campus and typically full. The installment of more security cameras gained popularity as one suggestion to help better protect the parking lots. 

Two other Reddit posts show pictures of cars with car jacks under them as if someone was attempting to steal their tires but stopped in fear that they may get caught. One of these reports came from Lot 30, again, while the other came from the Big Springs Parking Structure

The owner of the car parked in Big Springs Parking Structure responded to the post saying that when they returned, it appeared that there was nothing stolen from their car.

Car crimes like these are common in parking lots not affiliated with the campus, like on Watkins Street where students park for free, but it is upsetting to students that this is occurring on campus.  

In the case of car related crimes, UCRPD has released a set of safety tips for students. They advise students to “ensure that all doors are locked and fully close all windows, including the sunroof, carry the car registration and insurance card with you, don’t leave personal identification documents in the vehicle and never leave purses, wallets, electronics or other valuables in plain sight.”

Students are encouraged to report suspicious activity to UCRPD by calling them at (951) 827-5222.