YMCA installs cameras in parking lot after several vehicle burglaries

YMCA installs cameras in parking lot after several vehicle burglaries

CHAMPAIGN — Officials at the Stephens Family YMCA hope that beefing up security may discourage opportunistic thieves from taking advantage of their members.

Last week and this week, security cameras were installed on the outside of the athletic complex at 2501 Fields South Drive, C, in response to vehicle burglaries there.

YMCA officials alerted their members in early December that in the previous month, five cars had been broken into at different times of the day and night.

Director Mark Johnson said they made the decision to improve lighting in the parking lot and to add more cameras.

"First, we're going to try to improve light bulbs. We think (that) will help us. We have a couple cameras now, but we are putting in a new group of digital cameras that will sweep the whole thing," he said.

Officials from F.E. Moran had been waiting to get past the recent frigid temperatures, Johnson said.

Wiring was done last week, and cameras were installed Thursday.

The plan is to put up signs to let visitors, even those with sinister motives, know that security cameras are in use.

Johnson said that although there wasn't a definite pattern to the break-ins, employees suspected that the burglars were watching for women who got out of their vehicles without purses, then entered the vehicles to snatch them.

Johnson said a lot of people bring their wallets and put them on the floor near where they are working out, a practice he discourages.

"Bring your purse and your wallet in, and lock it up," he said.

Those leaving valuables in cars are encouraged to keep them out of sight.