Numerous thefts reported on and off campus

Reported incidents include vehicle thefts and e-payment scams.


Alex Venero

25th Avenue/Staff Garage, as photographed March 16. (Vanderbilt Hustler/Alex Venero)

Sam Stubbs and Aidan Voorhis-Allen

Throughout the 2021-22 academic year, theft has been a cause for concern within the Vanderbilt community as numerous alleged cases of vehicle theft and e-payment scams have been reported. 

On Sept. 24, Vanderbilt students received an email notification from Vanderbilt University Public Safety (VUPS) describing a recurring theft scam involving smartphone payment apps.

“The suspect has approached persons in the area and asked to use their cell phones to call for a ride,” the notification reads. “Later, the victims have discovered that the suspect has used the Venmo payment and wallet app to transfer hundreds of dollars out of the victims’ accounts.”

Students also received a security notice from VUPS on Nov. 2 detailing a vehicle theft recorded on video surveillance cameras earlier that day. 

“VUPD received a report that a vehicle was missing from Lot 77 on 18th Avenue South,” the notification reads. “Video surveillance revealed that at 5:35pm three males entered the parking lot from the alley on the east side of the lot. The males were seen pulling on several vehicle door handles until they were able to gain access to what appears to be an unlocked vehicle.”

Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD) stated in its 2021 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report that one incident of robbery and five incidents of burglary occurred on campus in 2020.

In the broader Nashville community, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) stated in its 2020 crime statistics report that 1,797 cases of robbery, 3,695 cases of burglary, 21,977 cases of larceny/theft and 3,153 cases of motor vehicle theft occurred in its jurisdiction in 2020.

Students residing off-campus have been no exception to the presence of theft in the campus area. Senior Grayson Keith fell victim to theft at his off-campus residence on Sept. 2. A car, two sets of car keys, a laptop and a set of AirPods were stolen from his Convent Place residence in Hillsboro Village. 

“They broke into our back door and went through all our rooms, and I was actually sleeping in mine when it happened,” Keith said.

The car was recovered on Sept. 9 with interior vandalization. Keith did not contact VUPD for support regarding the theft. 

“People deciding they’re not going to live on campus [are] taking that responsibility on themselves, and I don’t think it’s Vanderbilt’s responsibility to helicopter over them,” Keith said.

Despite the recent break-in, Keith expressed satisfaction with his off-campus living arrangement.

“I don’t really hear about Vanderbilt students getting robbed all that often,” Keith said. “I never hear about it happening on campus, but I think it was a little bit of a freak chance that we were the ones who got targeted this one time.”

Sophomore Paige Elliott reflected on the trade-offs between on-campus and off-campus residency with regard to crime and safety. She currently resides in a Mayfield Place lodge on the Highland Quadrangle, adjacent to 24th Ave. She 

“I would probably live in Highland even if I knew 24th is a tiny bit sketchy at night,” Elliott said. “[Safety and crime concerns] might affect where I would decide to live off-campus if I were in an apartment.”

VUPD did not respond to The Hustler’s request for comment regarding differences between the rates and nature of crime on and off-campus.