In 2009, 78.6 percent of all auto burglaries were permit theft, said Assistant UPD Police Chief Mark Richardson. He said hanging permits are too easy to steal and permit theft leads to robberies of other kinds.
“Auto burglary is a crime of convenience,” Richardson said. “Once a thief is in your car for a permit, they are likely to take something else while they are there.”
People won’t be able to remove permits and stick them on another car, making them very difficult to steal. Currently, motorcycles, convertibles and jeeps can apply to get sticker permits at UNF and they haven’t had any problems with theft, Richardson said.
In addition to cutting down on crime, sticker permits will also help reduce the amount of parking appeals by students who forget to put their permits back on their mirror.
“The appeals board is busy with a high amount of students that take their permits down when they are driving and then forget to put them back up when they park,” said Auxiliary Services Director Vince Smyth. “Stickers should help with that.”
The new permits will cost exactly the same for students, and the difference in cost for parking services is negligible. Students will place the sticker in the very bottom left corner of the windshield to minimize visual distraction for the driver.
The only possible drawback of switching away from the hanging permits is the convenience of switching the permits between vehicles if a student uses more than one, Smyth said. The new stickers won’t be transferable from car to car.
Robert Barnes, a construction senior, said he likes being able to transfer his permit between vehicles.
“Sometimes I have to bring my work truck to school, and I just transfer my permit over,” he said.
This luxury will be lost with the new sticker permits, but there is a solution. Students can simply stop by Parking Services with their N number and get a temporary permit for the day, Smyth said. If they get a new car altogether, Parking Services has a solution for that, as well.
“If you get a new car for whatever reason, you can just peel off your old permit and bring it in to Parking Services for a replacement,” Smyth said.
Despite UPD’s efforts to encourage students to lock their doors and take care protecting their vehicles through added signage this year, they have not seen much of a decrease in permit theft, and that reflects badly on the university.
“Auto burglary is a felony,” Richardson said. “With all these felonies, it really reflects poorly on the campus, even though they are mostly just people reaching in cars and taking permits.”
The new sticker permits will go on sale in July.