Parking pass thefts on the rise

Lydia Moneir

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Photo by Keri Weiland

After seven thefts of parking pass so far this term, some are questioning the reasoning behind having external parking passes this year.

Because this year’s passes are external and easier to steal, they are designed so they are in two pieces: the pass itself and a built-in, anti-theft VOID sticker that separates when the pass is removed. The VOID sticker prevents reuse of stolen passes.

But Vince Smyth, the director of UNF Auxiliary Services, said the sticker has not been working as it is meant to, so far. The stickers do not always separate, he said, and UNF Parking and Transportation Services is working with Weldon,

Williams & Lick, the company that produces the stickers, to try and solve this problem for next year’s batch.

Tom Knight, national sales manager at WW&L, said it is against company policy to give out any information regarding its clients.

Although some students may have preferred the 2010-11 parking passes that were designed to hang from the rearview mirror, Smyth said UPD complained about the hanging passes, due to the high number of thefts reported.

However, there were only six reports of stolen passes in fall 2010 and five reports in Spring 2011, according to Spinnaker Police Beat archives. These numbers do not account for unreported thefts.

UPD Police Chief John Dean said UPD was unhappy with the hanging passes because of the high number of thefts.

Dean offered no comment on the increased number of parking pass thefts this semester because he did not know if the Spinnaker’s numbers were accurate.

Trevin Blount, a UNF psychology junior, said he doesn’t like the adhesive used on the stickers because it’s difficult to remove.

Ana Maria Fernandez, a UNF deaf education sophomore, said it’s impossible to get the sticky ones off and that she prefers the hanging passes.

Michaela Stratton, a UNF marine biology and psychology sophomore, said while she has no problem with stickers, she thinks that they should be inside the car, in light of the recent thefts.

While some students do not like new parking passes, Smyth said Parking Services received input from Student Government, the Parking Council and Student Affairs on redesigning the parking passes.

Parking Services also looked into how other universities, such as Florida State University, designed their parking passes and found external passes to be most common, Smyth said.

He said last year’s passes, which were affixed to the inside of the windshields, were not always visible through tinted windows.

He said they were also technically illegal, as the Florida Driver’s Handbook requires that car windshields be free of any stickers not required by law.

Email Lydia Moneir at [email protected].