Vehicle crimes spike

Vehicle crimes spike

by Peter KaspariStaff Writer

Two recent crime outbreaks have both the city of Indianola and Simpson College reminding students about various crime prevention tactics.

The first series of crimes occurred in mid-August. A series of car break-ins and thefts occurred in Indianola. Although none of the break-ins occurred near Simpson, the crimes were enough for Director of Security Chris Frerichs to issue an alert via e-mail.

The second series of crimes, which were first reported to the Indianola Police Department on the morning of Aug. 30, consisted of vandalism to cars, sheds and other structures within the city. According to Indianola police officer Justin Keller, the department received between seven and 10 vandalism reports.

In one of those incidents, a car on Simpson’s campus was vandalized with spray paint.

“This isn’t normal,” Keller said. “All these incidents were in the same time frame.”

Despite the happening on campus, Keller said that crime around Simpson has not increased.

“We had some motor vehicle break-ins, but that was before school was in session,” Keller said.

As of now, the Indianola Police Department does not believe the break-ins and the vandalism are related and is treating them as separate investigations.

“They appear different, because none of the vandals have stolen,” Keller said.

He also stated that all the vandalized property appears to have been randomly selected, as nothing in common has been discovered.

The other mystery is the motive behind the vandalism.

“Right now we really have no speculation as to why [this happened] other than randomly targets,” Keller said.

Upon the filing of the police reports, the Indianola police immediately alerted Simpson security and Frerichs.

Statistics for vandalism on Simpson’s campus are not reported, but whenever an incident is reported, security will issue an e-mail to alert the community as to the developments. This happened with the recent motor vehicle break-ins, when Frerichs sent an alert on Aug. 21.

Despite the recent events, some Simpson students still feel safe.

“I always lock my car, so I feel safe,” junior David Turner said. “I think people respect others’ property enough not to mess with it.”

Senior Kyle Bochart said the recent events have made him more cautious.

“I’m a little more leery, and I lock my doors more, but I feel safe,” he said.

Both Keller and Frerichs confirmed that all the vehicles that were broken into were either unlocked or had the windows open.

Keller said taking one simple precaution could have prevented many of the car break-ins.

Keller said people should keep their doors looked. “Most of our car break-ins were reported when the vehicle was unlocked,” he said.

The police department is seeking information regarding both crimes.

Keller said that any suspicious activity should be reported to the police department. Keller said. “If it’s in progress, we’ll request an officer stop by. If they get a clothing or a vehicle description, or a license plate, that will help as well.”

Anyone with information about the crimes is encouraged to call the Indianola Police Department at 515-961-9400.