Nov 17, 2009

Disappearing Decals Debunked

by Cat Hewett

With the strong emphasis placed on parking legally at Liberty, the last thing students want is to find that their parking decal has been stolen, but unfortunately, this situation has happened to many Liberty students.

Decal stealing has been a problem for some time, but not a growing problem. Sergeant Kathryn Allen from the Liberty University Police Department (LUPD) said that for the last three years, the number of reported cases of stolen decals has remained relatively stable.

Twenty-six decals were reported stolen as of Nov. 13, 2007, and 28 decals were reported missing in 2008.

“We have had 32 decals reported stolen this year so far,” Allen said. “This is a relatively low number, but it is a significant problem for those whose vehicles are found without a decal or sometimes with the wrong decal and then having to explain to LUPD.”

Allen recommends that in order for students to keep their decals from being stolen, they should park in high-traffic, well-lit areas.

“Know what your decal number is and check it often,” Allen said. “If after you’ve checked your decal, and it looks like it may have been tampered with, call LUPD and report it. If your decal has been stolen you need to report it immediately to LUPD.”

When reporting a stolen decal to LUPD, students will be asked for their decal number so that the officer responding will be able to ensure that it is registered to the vehicle. Students will also be asked to tell the officer when they last saw their decal on their vehicle and when they first noticed it was missing, according to Allen.

“We have been able to track down suspects and additional victims because of decals that had been reported as stolen,” Allen said.

Allen said that officers will be able to see that a decal is stolen through LUPD’s system, but only if it has been reported. Once a student reports that their decal is missing, he or she will be issued a new one.

“If we find a vehicle without a decal we record that vehicle’s information and match it to a student,” Allen said. “Depending on a variety of circumstances, the vehicle is registered by LUPD, the student is sent a message explaining that we found the vehicle without a decal and in some circumstances (when illegally parked) the vehicle may also be towed. All decals that have been issued by LUPD have been entered into a database that can be checked against the vehicle information.”

To report a stolen decal, call the LUPD non-emergency phone number, (434) 592-7641, e-mail lupd@liberty.edu or visit the LUPD offices located in the southwest corner of North Campus.

Students who need to register their vehicle should visit the LUPD Web site at liberty.edu/administration/lupd.

Contact Cat Hewett at cahewett@liberty.edu.


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