At least 75 car break-ins have occurred at Temple since the spring semester began. Aside from petty theft, it is it the most frequent – and costly – crime problem on campus.
The most victimized area lies along Oxford Street between Broad and 12th streets, where eight cars have been broken into since the beginning of February. Just down the street, nine cars have suffered break-ins on 12th Street between Cecil B. Moore and Jefferson avenues.
In addition to increased surveillance of the areas, there are a number of measures Temple Police are practicing to correct the problem, such as tracking known criminals and performing pedestrian stops of suspicious individuals.
Lt. Robert Lowell, the head of investigations at Temple Police, attributes the cluster of break-ins to the fact that the area has “no real visual deterrent.” He said it is not a heavily-traveled area in the morning or late at night and that one heavily-hit stretch on Oxford Street faces an abandoned shopping center.
Other hot spots for theft and crime include the intersections of 11th and Diamond streets, and 16th and Berks streets.
There are two types of people who break into cars, according to Lowell. The first are repeat offenders, professional criminals who come to the campus solely to break into cars. They will deal the stolen goods through a fence person, someone who can exchange stolen goods for money, or take the item to a pawn shop. Because of the criminal’s experience, he or she is better able to elude detection, and very few have been arrested.
The second kind of criminal is an “offender of opportunity.” These are people who take advantage of a car that is unlocked or parked in an area without visual deterrents.
While a large portion of the break-ins occur at night or in the early morning, it is not uncommon at Temple for a car to be broken into in broad daylight. Also, locked car doors will rarely stop the average car burglar as the majority of cars that have been broken into have been entered by smashing a window.
The most sought after item, after cash and credit cards, are stereo systems. This is why Temple’s police d