January 24, 2021

UT Police Investigate ‘Rash’ of Car Thefts, Burglaries on Campus

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In an email sent out Thursday morning, the University of Tennessee Clery Compliance office notified students and faculty about recent car thefts.

The message states that since “late September” UTPD has dealt with at least 14 reports of vehicle thefts or burglaries on campus. According to the 60-day crime log on UTPD’s website, there are 27 reports related to those crimes. There are two other incidents involving the larceny of car parts.

The Clery Compliance office issued the statement in accordance with the Clery Act, a legislative structure designed to help coordinate safety and compliance with universities and local authorities. According to clerycenter.org , the Clery Act “is a consumer protection law that aims to provide transparency around campus crime policy and statistics.”

The email also noted that the statute often classifies crimes differently from law enforcement agencies.

“Our local law enforcement may classify something as joyriding, but that’s classified under the Clery Act as motor vehicle theft,” said Jillian Paciello, UT’s Clery Compliance coordinator. “We have that statement in there just so people are aware that some things may be classified differently by our local law enforcement agency than what Clery classifies them as.”

The purpose of the distinction is to provide awareness for reporting purposes, as outlined in Thursday’s email.

“Public safety is an umbrella that encompasses the Clery Act and also campus police, so we’re all under the same umbrella,” Paciello says.

There have been five reports of vehicle theft or burglary so far in October, according to UTPD’s latest update. Lola Alapo, Public Information Officer for UTPD, says the return of school typically results in more activity. “In general, various thefts on campus increase once students and staff return for the semester.”

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