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Many lauto larcenies occur during break

By Lakshmana Rao

Winter vacation saw increased larceny and pilferage from cars on Audrey Street and other areas at the west end of campus.

Three cars parked on Audrey Street behind Tang Hall were broken into during the early hours of Dec. 27. A total of seven cars were broken into during the week ending on Dec. 28, according to Officer Paul J. Baratta of MIT Campus Police.

These incidents occurred a day after the Campus Police issued a special bulletin to residents on West Campus. According to the bulletin, three cars were stolen, three cars were broken into and two cars stolen elsewhere were dropped off in the area between Dec. 6 and 22. The incidents occurred on Audrey Street and in the Westgate and 275 Vassar Street parking lots. Most of the incidents were reported between Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

Gorti Bhaskar was visiting a friend in Tang Hall when his rented van was broken into. Bhaskar said the break-in occurred sometime between 3 am and noon on Dec. 27, when the van was parked on the east side of Audrey Street. "The thieves broke the right window pane and carried away items worth $150. I expected the campus area to be pretty safe and hence did not take the extra precaution of emptying my van," Bhaskar said.

Auto theft a big problem

"MIT is situated in a very urban area where car theft in general is a big problem. No place on campus is safer than any other. The problem is a rotating one -- If we eliminate the problem in one area [it] pops up at some other place," said Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin.

The Campus Police normally give special attention to areas that are identified as dangerous, according to Glavin. Lighting in the troubled area is reevaluated and additional uniformed and plainclothes patrol officers are posted in the identified regions.

"The results of the lighting survey indicated that additional lighting will be helpful on Audrey Street, and Physical Plant is attending to this need," Glavin said.

Over the years, there has been an increasing trend for cars to be broken into rather than being stolen, Glavin said. Of the 56 motor vehicle thefts reported between January and September of 1991, 31 involved larceny from parked vehicles while 23 were vehicles stolen from the campus.

Pin maps used to monitor crimes

The Campus Police keep track of crimes on campus through the use of pin maps. Any reported crime is marked on the map using a pin whose color depends on the type of crime. Crimes are classified as larceny of office equipment, larceny of bicycles, vandalism of motor vehicles and crimes against persons. According to Sergeant Cheryl Vossmer, Campus Police crime prevention officer, "the pin maps give us a good idea of the crime patterns on campus and [help] to identify areas that need special attention."

"In 1992, we are planning to include thefts of wallets and backpacks on the pin maps. Our five-year plan is to drive all the thieves away from our campus into Harvard," she said.

Glavin cautioned residents not to leave any valuables in their vehicles overnight. She also urged the community to immediately report any suspicious activity observed in parking facilities and mentioned that the cooperation of residents has been very helpful in rounding up suspects in the past.