South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

Safety Committee addresses car break-ins and thefts on campus


The frequency of car break-ins and thefts on campus parking lots have raised a deeper awareness among the Safety and Security Committee about student safety at SDSU.

 Sen. Grant Sternhagen, chair of the Safety and Security Committee, said break-ins around campus are nothing new, but it has become more apparent to the school that students are concerned for their safety.

“It’s been going on since I was a freshman back in 2021,” Sternhagen said.

Since the start of 2023, there have been nine reports made of theft from cars and three reports made of cars being stolen on campus. Five of these reports have been made this semester, according to UPD crime logs.

Majority of these crimes have been committed in the Southeast and Northwest residential lots on campus.

Freshman Zach Wood from Warner, said his car was broken into about a month ago in the Southeast parking lot. Wood forgot to lock his vehicle. Nothing noticeable was stolen, but his car was left in disarray after the break-in.

“I know now to keep my car locked, that’s for sure,” Wood said.

Sophomore Peyton Jung from Warner, was a victim of two break-ins, both of which happened in the Southeast lot. He forgot to lock his car during one break-in, and the second time his car was locked. His car was only trashed twice; no valuables were stolen.

“School parking lots aren’t as safe as people think,” Jung said.

Sternhagen pointed out that once the COVID year hit back in 2020, break-ins became more prominent on campus and have continued since.

“There were some differences in the amount of crimes committed around the COVID years, but that can be attributed to the prevailing circumstances at the time,” Sternhagen said.

It has become apparent that the camera coverage in the school parking lots is not the best, giving thieves a better chance at getting away without being caught, according to Sternhagen.

“Meadows and Hansen parking lots don’t have nearly as good of camera coverage as some of the other parking lots around campus,” Sternhagen said.

Sternhagen said there are a wide variety of security cameras in and around school parking lots that do work, but some of their coverage may not be the best.

The Students’ Association holds walk-throughs with the University Police Department at least once per year to check safety objects such as street lights, blue emergency boxes and security cameras to ensure everything functions properly.

“We will walk around the residential areas and identify the weaknesses and strengths of our safety plans,” Sternhagen said.

UPD and SA report any maintenance issues around campus to the SDSU Facilities and Services team to get them fixed in a timely manner. Last year, according to Sternhagen, a majority of street lights went out around campus, causing a safety concern for students. SDSU Facilities fixed the issue within two weeks.

“Facilities do a good job. Obviously, weather permitting,” Sternhagen said.

 Sternhagen said Tracy Greene from university legal is planning on meeting with the safety committee soon about concerns with timely reporting and sending out campus wide emails about school safety.

“The school is definitely listening to us,” Sternhagen said.

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