Since Jan. 1, the Russellville Police Department has had 52 breaking and entering reports from various apartment complexes around town, several of which have a high concentration of tenants who are students at Arkansas Tech University, according to Quinn Jones, public information officer at the RPD.
Mikahla Denney, fine arts major from Searcy, reported that her vehicle’s passenger window had been busted out around January 17 and several items she had left in her car had been stolen.
“They took my purse, my school bag and a broken phone charger. I ended up finding the contents of my purse out in the grass by my apartment later that day when I was walking my dog. All they took was the $12 cash and the purse itself,” she said.
After reporting the incident to the police, Denney said that the officer who took her report told her the police department had suspects in mind they would pursue but never followed up with her about the progress of the case.
According to Jones, this is because breaking and entering cases are notoriously difficult to solve.
“B and E’s: they’re very hard to solve just because there’s usually not a lot of physical evidence left behind; there’s usually not any witnesses left behind,” he said.
To help the police and protect yourselves, Jones recommends following the “take, hide, lock” rule – take valuables inside, hide them under a jacket or seat if you can’t take them inside and make sure to lock the doors of the vehicle.
“The majority of reports we get come from people who have not locked their cars,” Jones said. “So, that’s the biggest thing; take things with you, don’t leave valuables in plain sight, if you can, park in a well-lit area.”
Students should also keep in mind the reports of the so-called “window bandits.” These incidents were all reported as vandalisms, with nothing stolen.
To avoid being a victim to criminal mischief, Jones recommends reporting any suspicious behavior as well.
“Take the steps to not be a victim,” he said. “Be a good witness; like I said, park in well-lit areas. Just be aware of your surroundings. If something seems suspicious, call the police.”
Students who see suspicious activity or fall victim to a comparable crime on Tech campus should call the Public Safety office at (479) 968-0222 to report the incident as well.
Students can submit an anonymous tip form with the Russellville Police Department at russellvillepolice.org or call the Silent Partner Tip line at (479) 967-2221, or call 911 if it is about a crime in progress.