By Theresa Brown and Andrew Main
Swastikas and phallic images were carved in various lots around the Kingston campus
The vandalism has taken place in multiple areas such as the Flag Road, Keaney, Dairy Barn and Plains Road parking lots, as well as around Fraternity Circle. Seven cases of vandalism occurred over one weekend and several more cases were reported in the following days.
The vandalism included damage such as cars being keyed, images of swastikas and phallic symbols being drawn on cars and tires being slashed. However, there were only three reports of cars having their tires slashed. Most of the vandalism occurred to the vehicles of students, but one occurred to a faculty member’s vehicle.
The Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police, Stephen Baker, said they currently do not have any suspects. Furthermore, he said it is hard to determine if there is more than one suspect because the vandalism occurred in five different lots.
The parking lots in which the vandalism occurred have security cameras, but police have not yet been able to spot a suspect. Baker said the Dairy Barn lot may not have had it’s security cameras functioning because of recent construction. In the other lots, Baker said the security cameras simply cannot cover every parking spot because of the size of the lots. According to Baker, there are approximately 9,000 parking spots and it would be too costly to have security cameras monitoring every spot.
Baker is hopeful that they will stop additional vandalism incidents from occurring if students and faculty speak up if they see anything.
“We have more frequent [patrols] of parking lots at night,” Baker said. “We’re also hopeful that the public will help us out if they see something suspicious.”
The increase in parking lot patrols will be conducted by both the URI police department and the South Kingstown police department.
Freshman Breanna Hennessey’s car, a 2014 Subaru Forester, was vandalised on April 4. Not noticing until the next day, Hennessey didn’t even realize that it was her car at first.
“I didn’t think it was my car, I saw the same car was right to the left of mine,” Hennessy said.
Hennessey’s car was keyed with scratches all along the passenger side, specifically on the doors. When Hennessey saw that her car had been vandalised, she reported it to the URI police and filed a police report.
In a statement emailed to students last week, the University’s Department of Communications denounced the vandalism.
“The University condemns all forms of vandalism, but the hateful and offensive nature of these incidents deserves the strongest repudiation,” the statement read.
Baker said the public should contact the police department if they see anything suspicious. “If the public sees anything suspicious they should report it immediately,” Baker said. “Even if it wasn’t anything at least we checked it out.”
The Department of Public Safety can be reached at 401-874-2121.