By IZZY GOMEZ
Amarillo College police are warning students about a string of recent vehicle break-ins on the West Campus.
One of the victims was Natalia Garza, a radiography major. She said that it happened Jan. 20, in Parking Lot One, between 10:30 a.m. and noon. Garza said that she thinks the police handled the situation well. She said that they checked around her car for footprints, because it had been snowing, but did not find any because she had already
walked over them. Garza said that she thinks it would have been helpful for the police if there were cameras on campus and she wished they would have sent out the campus alert after the first break-in. An earlier alert could have warned her and other students not to leave belongings in their cars, she said.
“I think it’s the campus responsibility to ensure that students and their belongings are safe while we’re here,” said Garza.
Garza said that the officers told her that they have started patrolling more since the break-ins started and she believes it is true because she has noticed them out on their bikes and driving around the parking lots.
One of the other victims was Brooklyn Tenorio, a biology major. It happened to her Feb. 7 between 9 a.m. and noon. The thieves broke her front and back window on the right side of her car. Tenorio said that when she posted what had happened to her on her Snapchat story, a lot of people replied to her story saying that it either happened to them or one of their friends.
Tenorio said the thieves stole her purse, jewelry, credit and debit cards, $300 worth of cash, gift cards and driver’s license. She said her purse had sentimental value because her mom got it for her and she is not looking forward to paying the bills to get her windows fixed.
She also said that she thinks there should be cameras on campus for safety reasons.
“It’s kind of crazy that they have no cameras, not because of the robberies, but because someone can get hurt. Luckily no one got hurt, but on college campuses there can be rape and assaults and there would be no evidence of that because there are no cameras,” she said.
Scott Acker, the AC chief of police, said that he agrees that having cameras would be beneficial to help identify
suspects, but cameras can’t prevent car break-ins. “Don’t give someone the opportunity to break into your car,” he said.
Acker said that it takes about 30 seconds for a criminal to break a car window and take a purse or backpack. He advises students and staff to lock their cars, make sure there are no valuables in plain sight, don’t park in isolated areas and, if it’s nighttime, to park in a well-lit area.
He also said that students who experience a car break in should call the campus police and stay away from the vehicle, because someone could still be inside, and to make sure to not touch anything. When reporting a break in, students should give the police the parking lot number and describe the location in that lot, give them an idea of what has been touched and what is missing.
Contact the Amarillo College police at (806)371-5911.