Precautions prevent theft

As a college town, Tallahassee is home to thousands of student drivers. Invariably, it is also home to several cases of auto theft and burglary.

While many students have had their cars stolen or burglarized, some did not take the proper precautions to protect their cars from being targeted.

“The best defense to prevent being victimized is using common sense techniques such as parking in a well-lit area and locking your doors,” said Sgt. Glenn Sapp, supervisor of the robbery and auto theft unit at the Tallahassee Police Department.

Many things may lead a burglar to your car. Leaving CDs, cell phones, or purses in clear view is very inviting. It is also important to report any suspicious person or activity to the police department.

“If you see someone bothering a neighbor’s vehicle, notify the police,” said Sapp.

Before moving into off campus housing, a student should find out auto theft statistics (a public record) for a particular neighborhood.

Apartment complexes are also fighting back to decrease auto theft where residents look out for one another.

“We hand out flyers and handouts, we also have a different resident in each building to observe suspicious activities,” said Renee Harris, the manager at Colony Club apartments. “The Leon County Sheriff Department also patrols the property at night.”

For security against those late-night car breakdowns that may leave you alone and vulnerable, students can join a club such as the American Automobile Association, which offers nationwide roadside assistance.

Aside from its use to discount hotels and travel expenses, AAA provides great assistance for students who get stuck on the side of the road, according to Keith McCulloch, sales representative at AAA.

“With AAA Plus Membership, students can get up to 100 miles of free towing,”he said

Sapp said students should take the proper steps if an auto theft occurs.

“Notify police, contact your insurance company and review your insurance policy, because our policy may have a clause that provides for a rental car,” Sapp said.