University of Saskatchewan parking lot break-ins prompt petition
Watch above: A rash of break-ins to vehicles in a parking lot has prompted a petition calling for change and a response from the University of Saskatchewan. Amber Rockliffe finds out what measures will be taken to protect students on campus.
SASKATOON – A petition was handed to the University of Saskatchewan’s interim president Dr. Gordon Barnhart Monday morning. It calls for increased security in campus residence parking lots and compensation for students affected by Saturday’s string of vehicle break-ins.
“The university has the responsibility to protect its students. We live in the residence and this vandalism has been happening too often,” explained one of the petition’s organizers, Isaac Asiameh.
He said break-ins in Saskatoon are an ongoing problem, happening every couple of months.
Barnhart said security patrols have been ramped up in the area and the university plans to add security cameras and improve lighting.
“We had been in the process already of putting in more lighting and cameras, but to run the wires … the ground needed to be thawed out,” Barnhart said.
Students living in the campus residences said they fear it’s all just talk. Asiameh said in the past, university departments have deflected responsibility back-and-forth and this has produced no results.
“This is not the first time we are getting a promise to fix a problem. So I want to be able to see that something concrete is being done,” Asiameh said.
Dr. Michael Gertler, an associate professor in the university’s sociology department, has researched urban planning and released the following statement following the break-ins:
“A parking area with hundreds of cars and minimal or no surveillance/security is a natural target. Our graduate, married, and international students deserve better security. This goes as well for their bikes (mostly lacking any covered or secure storage area) as well as their cars.”
Saskatoon police said it has a close working relationship with the university and its protective services and hopes to develop a plan of action.
“Our staff sergeant for east division is planning on meeting with them tomorrow to talk about these incidents of criminal activity and what we could do to prevent or discourage this type of behaviour,” said Saskatoon police spokesperson Alyson Edwards.
Petition organizers hope to receive a timeline of when security cameras and increased lighting will be installed by the end of the week.
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