Students in the College of Southern Maryland’s Digital Media Production program earned top honors for their promotion of anti-theft messaging as part of a Maryland State Police Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council and Maryland/DC Anti-Car Theft Committee annual competition.
Winners in CSM’s second year of competition were Alyssa-Gene Deato of Waldorf and Elijah Green of Prince Frederick and Brenna Grooms of La Plata.
Deato created a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) featuring two sisters, portrayed by Deato’s cousin and a friend, as the older sister reminds the younger about anti-theft measures she should take if she is going to borrow the car.
Deato said she was proud of how her project turned out. “To be honest, I was afraid that the equipment I used wasn’t going to be sufficient,” Deato said. “There were some technical mistakes I made. But I’m proud of how I was still able to create what I envisioned.”
She also noted that the real-world project was a great learning experience. “A lot of preparation goes into it,” she said. “First off, there’s coming up with an idea. It’s actually pretty hard coming up with something original. Then there’s storyboarding, finding actors, scheduling (for the weather and the actors). There’s just a lot that goes into it that I wasn’t expecting. … I would say it was a very rewarding experience.”
Green and Grooms’ PSA, which was awarded second place in the competition, features a bearded man ranting about car theft statistics and how often this is due to people leaving their keys in their car.
The PSAs were produced as a project for the students’ Digital Media Production 1010 class at CSM, taught by Professor Olanyi Areke.
Christopher McDonold, executive director of the MD Vehicle Theft Prevention Council (VTPC), told the students in presenting them with cash awards, “Thank you for your participation in this second year of competition. This competition prepares young folks for the job requirements of producing materials that we can use for our anti-theft public awareness.”
Together, the VTPC, Maryland State Police and the MD/DC Anti-Car Theft Committee have partnered for eight years to present this PSA competition. The contest began with Towson University students producing the audio and video PSAs. “Two years ago, we invited CSM students to create messaging to bring more awareness to the public about ways to prevent becoming a victim of auto theft,” said Maryland State Police Public Information Officer Elena Russo. “To date, the contest includes students from both TU and CSM to cover both the Baltimore and the DC markets.”
Russo noted that the student-created PSAs help spread the message that auto thieves do not focus solely on new vehicles and up to 50 percent of vehicles are stolen due to the keys left in the vehicle. “Although on the decline, vehicle theft continues to be a problem,” she said.
“By decreasing vehicle theft, we are impacting other crimes in progress in the region,” Russo added. “Oftentimes, crimes like kidnapping, burglary and insurance fraud go hand-in-hand with vehicle theft crimes.”
The TU and CSM student-produced PSAs will be aired on social media, on WBAL-TV and on the VTPC and MSP websites. To view Deato’s PSA, visit https://youtu.be/AjJ2iv9U5Nk. To view the PSA produced by Green and Grooms, visit
https://youtu.be/NjVYlrygSlc. To see photos from the check presentation, visit http://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/mspanddmpstudents.