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Speaking Out

An Unbelievable Tale

On February 22 I arrived at Penn at 8 a.m. and parked in my usual space (Garage #40, 40th and Walnut, above the Fresh Grocer).  At 6 p.m. on February 22 I arrived at the garage to pick up my car. To my surprise, the car was jacked up, the front axel was on a cement block, the rear still supported by a jack, and the two wheels on the driver’s side were missing. I immediately went to the garage office and informed the attendant who called University Police. The responding officer admitted that there have been numerous “incidents” in the garage, but in his five years he had seen nothing like this.  The attendant showed me the monitor which is directed to watch the lobby of the Fresh Grocer.

What followed was a difficult 48 hrs….it is not possible to tow a front wheel drive car with two missing wheels, it is not possible for a flat bed to enter the garage; calls to my insurance agency, Parking Services, AAA, and my own service station were unable to come up with a solution. The manager of Parking Services informed me there were no monitors in the garage (“too expensive”) but he offered to have his people pick up a donut spare tire so that I could drive the car to the dealer to pick up the new tires. Unfortunately Parking Services called back a bit later and informed me that their tow truck driver had left for the day, but if I wanted, I could go to Passyunk Avenue and pick up the donut. I did this ($35) called AAA who came immediately and pointed out that I had purchased the wrong spare. Finally, I ordered two new wheels/tires/caps, picked them up the next day at the dealer and AAA installed them.  Net loss….$250 deductible, $35 for wrong donut, 48 hours of my time.

Epilogue: (1) The crime log reporting the incident notes “a male unaffiliated with the University reported …”; a unique method for keeping Penn crime statistics low.

(2) A University employee who had seen the crime log (he apparently knew I was affiliated with the University) wanted to know what floor I was parked on so that he could review the monitor film. When I told him that there were no monitors, he said that was outrageous…why not? I told him that Parking Services said it was too expensive.

For $1,500 per year we deserve better security.

—Daniel Malamud,
Professor of Biochemistry
School of Dental Medicine


Response to Penn Community

We were very sorry to learn about the incident of vandalism to the vehicle parked in the garage at 40th and Walnut Streets (Garage #40). 

The Division of Public Safety, in conjunction with Penn Parking Services, has taken proactive steps to decrease the number of incidents such as what unfortunately occurred to Dr. Malamud’s parked vehicle. As a result, incidents of thefts from autos decreased 46% last year compared to 2003. There was a single incident of theft from a vehicle from Garage #40 reported in the six months prior to the incident reported by Dr. Malamud. We understand that these statistics do not offer much comfort to individuals who are victims of crime. As evident from Dr. Malamud’s letter, even a single incident can be quite an unpleasant experience.

Penn Parking Services has many mechanisms in place to ensure the safety of vehicles parked in University garages and lots. All of the parking garages, including Garage #40, are patrolled daily by security personnel. In addition to the security patrols, the Division of Public Safety has assigned a team of Penn Police Officers to patrol the garages on police bicycles. Garage #40 is indeed equipped with security cameras throughout the facility, in compliance with the recommendations made by a safety analysis conducted by the Division of Public Safety. In addition, there are also Blue Light Emergency Telephones located on every level of Garage #40.

After Dr. Malamud filed his report with the Penn Police, Penn Parking Services personnel assisted him by making several calls to locate spare tires for his car, and they offered him the option of using their towing service.   

We ask the patrons of all parking garages to immediately report any potentially suspicious activity to the Penn Parking Services attendants, or to the Penn Police.

For any other comments, suggestions or questions relative to Penn Parking, please e-mail the Business Services IDEAweb at www.business-services.upenn.edu. For comments, suggestions or questions relative to public safety, please reference the Division of Public Safety’s feedback webpage at: www.publicsafety.upenn.edu/forms/feedback.asp.

— Maureen S. Rush,
Vice President for Public Safety

— Leroy D. Nunery, II
Vice President for Business Services


Speaking Out welcomes reader contributions. Short, timely letters on University issues will be accepted by Thursday at noon for the following Tuesday’s issue, subject to right-of-reply guidelines. Advance notice of intention to submit is appreciated. —Eds.



  Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 24, March 15, 2005


March 15, 2005
Volume 51 Number 24


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