Car vandalism: Should students fear for safety?

Car vandalism: Should students fear for safety?

This weekend proved to be a weekend of fun-filled sports and rivalry. I found this out the hard way when I walked out to the Quad Lot on Saturday morning to find that my car had been tagged. presumably by SMU students.

My back window now proclaimed that “I ‘heart’ SMU Mustangs” and my side windows had been filled in completely with red shoe paint. A majority of the other cars in the lot had similar markings.

I soon found out that several rows of cars in the Stadium Lot had the same messages spelled out on them.

Now, I have to admit, SMU got me. It was a funny “haha” prank. As irritated as I was to spend $20 and two hours jet-spraying the shoe paint off of my car only to have my team lose that night’s game, I knew that the spirit of rival sports teams begged my forgiveness and ability to shrug it off.

So what? I had to wash my car, but I have a more pertinent question: Where were the TCU Police, and why hadn’t those who were tagging been caught and stopped?

Granted, it was just a joke and the paint did came off of my car. Fine, that’s great. But, what if the taggers had gotten out of control and began permanently damaging vehicles or worse, what if it had been criminals looking to steal items out of our cars?

There were too many cars effected for TCU Police to have not noticed. I was parked in the center of campus, right next to Frog Fountain. Any officer patrolling the West Campus would have had to drive around University Circle. Where were they? Who was watching the cameras placed in the lot? Were the cameras even working?

I would guess that it takes about 10 to 15 seconds to paint a car window, and according to several national crime statistic Web sites, it takes an average of 15 seconds to break into someone’s car.

One or two SMU students painting the cars would have taken well over an hour. There were dozens and dozens of cars tagged.

With these questions in mind, I called the TCU Police on my way to work. I did not file an official report because I realized there was nothing they could do at that point. I wanted them to be aware of what had happened. The dispatcher told me the officers would be notified. That was all that was said. Vandalization should been stopped during the act, not reported after the fact.

The TCU Police have no problem finding students’ cars five minutes after they’ve parked in the wrong spot, but when it comes to making sure that not just one, but a majority of cars, were safe and maintained, no one noticed.

I understand that it was just shoe polish and that people tag each other’s cars all the time, but usually it is one or two cars, not dozens, and they say something like “Happy Birthday” or “Honk If …” The markings are typically not cheering on our rivals.

I’m beginning to question my safety and the safety of my car on campus. This time it was just washable paint. What happens next time when it’s not?

Tiffany Cox is a senior advertising/public relations major from Frisco.