Car thieves prowling TRAX parking lots

53 vehicles stolen last year; police and UTA boost patrols

Published: Monday, March 15 2004 7:01 a.m. MST

That park-and-ride lot is close to where the new Intermountain Health Center is being built. The hospital won't be completed for a couple of years, however. For now, there are hardly any businesses near the lot, and police, who have stepped up patrols in the area, believe the low-traffic area is appealing to potential thieves.

Midvale's Fort Union Station, 180 W. 7250 South, had eight cars stolen from Feb. 1, 2003, to Feb. 1, 2004, according to the Midvale Police Department. The Midvale Center Station, 95 W. 7720 South, had five vehicles stolen during that same time period. Of those stolen vehicles, only one has been recovered, said Midvale police Sgt. John Salazar.

South Salt Lake's Meadowbrook Station, 188 W. 3900 South, had just two cars stolen from its lot in 2003. All three of that city's park-and-ride lots have had a total of eight cars stolen from October of 2000, to Jan. 28, 2004, according to South Salt Lake police. In comparison, Century 16 Theaters, 107 E. 3300 South, has had four cars stolen during that same time period.

UTA is doing its part to make those lots safer, Jones said. In addition to patrols by UTA security, the company is installing surveillance cameras and other security devices as it acquires the money to purchase those items.

But there are also some common-sense things that car owners can do, Jones said, such as parking in well-lighted areas and not leaving keys or other valuables in plain view inside the car.

Some people try to avoid door dings by parking on the outermost edge of parking lots, Jones said. The chances of having a car stolen are lessened if a person parks in high-traffic areas, he said.

UTA is also preparing to announce a new transit watch program that will allow residents to call a designated number if they see suspicious activity happening around a TRAX area.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

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