Parking in the blind spot

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Morgan Golliver, Assistant News Editor

After multiple incidents involving damage to vehicles in the parking lots of Utica College, students look for answers from the institute on what should be done to prevent more incidents from happening.

Two years ago, a vehicle in North Hall was flipped over completely. The owner of that car is Joe Goggins, a copy editor for the Tangerine.

“My car was flipped my Freshman year and when I saw it, I was in awe,” Goggins said. “I couldn’t believe someone would do that on campus. I really didn’t believe nobody noticed my car flipped until the morning after it happened.”

When the flipped car was finally noticed, campus safety officers, along with the Utica Police Department, looked into the situation and conducted an investigation. The car itself was not salvageable.

“During the investigation, we had to rely on proof from the accuser because we didn’t have any physical evidence since there were no cameras,” said Wayne Sullivan, director of campus safety.  

Goggins also mentioned that the school put out a reward for any info on who did it, but no one has come forward.

The junior had another incident take place this semester when someone hit his vehicle in the parking lot and broke his taillight while it was parked. For the second occasion during his time at UC, he had no way of knowing who damaged his car.

Junior Anand Buch is another student that experienced damage to his vehicle. Like Goggins, he still does not know who caused the damage.

“There was damage done to my door handle during my freshman year,” Buch said. “I guess when someone opened their car door, they hit my car and it chipped off some paint.”

Sullivan and the Office of Campus Safety have seen many incidents take place in parking lots where another driver accidentally hits a parked car when backing out. These incidents typically get reported.

“Once the incident is reported to us, we tell the student to call the Utica Police Department to fill out an accident report, so insurance information can be taken care of,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan also said that the office gets many phone calls from students about their vehicles being broken into.

“Most of the time, the student who calls and reports a vehicle break in, their car isn’t locked,” Sullivan said. “Also, we have had incidents where we know exactly who was involved as the people of the House of Good Shepherd have been known to go through vehicles that are unlocked.”

Campus safety sends out alerts through email to make sure students and staff know when incidents occur. The most recent alert was sent on Nov. 14 notifying students about recent acts of vandalism that took place in the UC parking lots.

Sullivan said that these alerts help spread the word of what’s going on without publicizing the incident.

“We dig into every incident that is reported, and we send out alerts if the incident is serious, such as the incident (Goggins’s car) that happened a couple years ago,” Sullivan said. “We don’t like publicizing the incident because if we do, the information dries up quick and we end up with nothing, so alerts definitely help us.”

When bringing up the topic of security cameras, Sullivan said that they are definitely a suggestion he has brought up many times to the institution.

“Unfortunately, I am not the person that has a say about having security cameras on campus, it goes through people that are at a higher level than me, but I always say and suggest that we need cameras,” he said. “I wish it could be done to have them on campus, but it’s a hard process, so we just have to be patient.”

Sullivan suggests that all students and staff make sure their vehicles are locked at all times and to be sure to call campus safety at 315-792-3046 if something is out of place.

“I hope that we get cameras,” Sullivan said. “As the campus has expanded and is still expanding, we have added a second patrol vehicle to all the parking lots which helps us, especially during overnight hours. So far, we haven’t had many incidents.”

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