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Hitting it off: Vandalism persists

Photo by Lauren Olson, Photography Editor

Police reports track hit and runs

By Ying Liang, For The Miami Student

According to police traffic reports, "hit and run" accidents around campus are fairly uncommon, but "kick and run" incidents are another story altogether.

One traditionally thinks of hit and runs as accidents involving two motor vehicles. However, recent police reports indicate that it is not people driving behind the wheel who are a threat, but rather the people walking on foot.

Data gathered by the Oxford Police Department (OPD) showed there were 40 "hit skip" incidents recorded between Jan. 1 and Aug. 4 of this year. "Hit skip" refers to damage, mostly to vehicles, in which the perpetrator leaves without a note. Of these types of incidents, 65 percent were motor vehicles in traffic lanes, and 30 percent were parked motor vehicles. One incident in this time frame involved a hit pedestrian. These incidents were recorded in the traffic system; in comparison, OPD maintains separate criminal mischief cases in their crimes database. Fifty-five of the 98 criminal mischief cases in this same time frame involved vehicular damage - some of these 55 entries listed damage to multiple cars.

These cases include cars being egged, keyed and having mirrors broken and tires slashed. Forty-five percent of the "hit skips" occurred on Saturdays and Thursdays, with the most incidents happening on Sycamore. Thirty eight percent of vehicle-related criminal mischief occurred on Saturdays and Thursdays, with the most incidents happening on Poplar Street.

Senior Abby Cramer had a literal "kick and run" last spring. Cramer said she went to the REC center for an hour-long meeting on a Tuesday night at 9 p.m.

"I parked on Campus at a meter," Cramer said. "When I came back out, I instantly noticed a dent in my

front bumper … about 10 inches long and four inches wide."

After talking with her father, Cramer did not to file a police report of the incident.

She brought her car into a shop to have it evaluated, and left the dent due to repair costs.

"The mechanics decided it was from a foot," Cramer said. "Someone had simply just kicked my car for seemingly no reason … They were not able to get the dent out, meaning I would have to completely replace [the bumper]."

When asked about parking at Miami, Cramer concluded that it is generally safe to park, though she added Uptown parking is often limited.

"Unfortunately, I've found that people don't feel the need to leave notes after they hit a car," Cramer said.

According to Miami University Police Department (MUPD)Lt. Ben Spilman, reports like these often go unsolved.

"We record [these incidents] for statistical reporting and insurance claims," he said. "Hit and runs are fairly uncommon; the most common are damage to vehicle reports, specifically parked vehicles. There are lots of people on foot."

Spilman said these types of crimes-property damage without knowledge or consent from owners-are categorized as criminal mischief, and most are attributed to alcohol. In MUPD's reports from Jan. 1to Sept. 22 of this year, there were 28 traffic crashes, none of which were "hit and run"style accidents.

Of the 51 criminal mischief cases MUPD recorded at this same time frame, eight involved damage to parked vehicles, with half of the incidents occurring on outdoor university property. Like OPD's records, MUPD's criminal mischief cases involving vehicular damage included eggings and broken glass.