West Campus parking lots see 'isolated' spike in car break-ins, DUPD working to identify suspects

Thirteen vehicles were broken into and one was reported stolen in West Campus parking lots between Oct. 3 and 11, according to community safety reports compiled by the Duke University Police Department. 

The spike in car break-ins occurred in an “isolated window of time,” Police Chief John Dailey wrote in an email Friday when asked whether students with cars in Blue Zone were notified of the incidents. Between the start of the semester on Aug. 29 and Oct. 3, a total of five motor vehicle breaking and entering instances were reported. None occurred within West Campus parking lots. 

DUPD is still working to identify suspects, according to Dailey. 

Other than Blue Zone, which is where West Campus residents and undergraduate commuters park, cars were also broken into at Edens Lot and the Chapel Drive Gravel Lot during this nine-day period. 

All 14 reported cases are currently labeled on the reports as “inactive," meaning that DUPD reviewed the case and deemed it stagnant due to a lack of solvable factors. Cases can be reactivated whenever new information becomes available. 

“We have moved additional resources into the area and have investigators working the cases. Solving the current cases and preventing future ones is our priority now,” Dailey wrote on Oct. 4. 

Junior Addison Penn said that he noticed his car had been broken into early on the morning of Oct. 3 after seeing DUPD responding to another car parked near him. There was no damage and nothing was taken, but items had been “ransacked,” he said. Penn also said he found three IDs and a credit card not belonging to him in his car. 

“All my compartments were open and everything was spilling on the floor,” Penn said. 

Dailey confirmed on Friday that there was no damage, such as broken windows, to any of the cars that were broken into. 

After handing the cards to a police officer, Penn said that DUPD took his phone number, but did not provide him with any information concerning next steps. 

Penn expressed frustration with the response by DUPD. 

“I would like a little stronger response or at least something from Duke,” Penn said. “Especially in Blue Zone because Blue Zone’s supposed to be where you can park your car securely.”

Dailey wrote on Friday that the “standard recommendations include ensuring parked cars are locked and placing valuables out of sight.” 

Kathryn Thomas profile
Kathryn Thomas | News Editor

Kathryn Thomas is a Trinity junior and news editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


Share and discuss “West Campus parking lots see 'isolated' spike in car break-ins, DUPD working to identify suspects” on social media.