New year sees unprecedented rise in parking pass theft


Some students were issued temporary parking passes by the attendance office (photo via Jake Riehle)

Anthony Marsicano, Sports Editor

Parking passes have been a privilege made available to juniors and seniors at DGN for years. The Main St. lot consists of just under 400 parking spots to be used by students and staff every day. Students who drive to school and wish to park there may buy a parking pass for $87.50 per semester, or $175 for the entire school year. The permit application form makes it very clear: If the permit is lost, stolen, or revoked for any reason, it will NOT be replaced and the fee will not be refunded. recently, the attendance office has been issuing temporary passes as an increasing number of students have reported their passes lost or stolen. 

Senior Kyle Miller is one of these unfortunate students; he first noticed his pass was missing Jan 15 and was greeted by a parking violation slip from security on his car.

“I received one warning ticket but after talking to Officer Powers…he said I didn’t have to worry about any tickets I received,” Miller said. “I think [DGN] handled the situation very well. They were prepared with temporary passes for many people because when I got mine it was in a stack of 15-20 passes.”

According to associate principal Kelly Zuerner, the school has received approximately 16 reports of missing or stolen parking passes, a number much higher than any previous year. Zuerner stresses the importance of students unlocking cars before the school day as a way to prevent theft.

“We need to get the word out ‘Please secure your vehicles before coming into the building,’” Zuerner said. “It is disheartening to say but this is the first year where we have had parking passes being stolen out of our students’ vehicles.”

Senior Audrey Stanton noticed her pass missing a few weeks ago on a Thursday. She went to the Deans’ office and was told that because they have her car and information on record, she would not need to worry about receiving any more tickets. However, she was not issued another pass.

“I think there isn’t much they can do about this issue [other] than give a warning ticket to each vehicle without one, especially since this has happened to multiple people,” Stanton said. “Considering the fact that a parking pass costs over $100 though, I’d hope my right to park there isn’t taken away.“

Costs have been the main concern for many of these students. Senior Jake Riehle noticed his parking pass was missing from his car when school got out Jan 15.

“I never take it out of my car or move it at all so I knew that I couldn’t have misplaced it or anything,” Riehle said. “I normally lock my car every day, but I forgot to on that Friday and by the time I realized I was already in class it was too late.”

Riehle went to the attendance office where they told him he needed to be more careful and issued him a new pass with a different number. He was thankful he was not charged for a replacement but still he felt it was unfair how easily someone could get away with stealing his pass.

“I think that DGN should take further precautions by adding the owner’s name to the parking pass to make them more clearly identifiable,” he said. “I also think that they should also do more to punish people who steal them and commit to investigating more because people are getting away with stealing over $100.” 

According to Zuerner, the Main Street lot is “monitored before and during school hours by security”. DGN Student Resource Officer and current Downers Grove Police Officer Tom Powers is “aware and involved in the current situation”. 

Many students who have been victims of parking pass theft support the idea of a security guard checking individual passes in the Main st. a lot during the school day. Senior Maeve Miller is one of these students.

“It would be helpful to have a security guard check all the parking passes because that might solve who is actually stealing them and people who have been stolen from can get their passes back,” Maeve said. “I think the school could try harder to find out who is taking the passes but it’s also the fault of kids, including myself, who left their car doors unlocked.”