Rise in Theft Rate on Campus

Jessie Markovetz

Last semester Campus Safety saw a slight rise in the rate of reported thefts and break-ins in campus residences.

While exact data and comparisons to past semesters were unavailable, Assistant Director of Campus Safety Gert Neubauer said that the number of reported thefts did increase slightly.

“One of the things contributing to this is personal responsibility and security,” Neubauer said.

Campus Safety is urging students to lock their doors to ensure that their valuables remain safe within their rooms. According to Neubauer, break-ins in the dormitories are often the result of unlocked doors, making rooms highly vulnerable to larceny and unwanted intruders.

To emphasize the necessity of keeping dorm rooms and residences secure, Campus Safety has begun implementing a new program called Operation Lockdown. Under this initiative, Campus Safety officers walk each floor and check for unlocked rooms. If a door is left unsecured, the officer will lock the door and leave a notice on the student’s door.

“We want to educate the students and explain the importance of keeping doors locked,” Neubauer said.

The Operation Lockdown program was started last semester, but Campus Safety plans to put the initiative into full force in the coming months, with officers patrolling each hall a couple times a month.

The Office of Residential Life has also cautioned students to keep their doors locked at all times in order to prevent thefts. Additionally, Resident Advisers are required to go through intensive training with Campus Safety officers in the fall to go over safety precautions and procedures, such as immediately reporting thefts or break-ins.

“If students are going to be in any situation where they’re inattentive to their room, whether they’re taking a nap or going to class,” Director of Residential Life and Assistant Dean of the College for Residential Education Jennifer Adams said, “they need to keep their doors locked.”

The dangers of unlocked doors are very familiar to some on campus.

Sophomore Regan Corr had her video iPod and Nikon digital camera, both brand new, stolen last November from her dorm room while she was sleeping.

“I had unlocked my room to go to the bathroom and had forgotten to re-lock it when I went back to bed. I woke up to someone rustling through my drawers,” Corr said. “I ran into my roommate’s room to tell her, but she convinced me that I was dreaming so I went back to sleep. The next morning I woke up and all my drawers were open and camera and iPod were gone.”

Despite Corr’s experience with theft, she does not think Colgate is to blame for this unfortunate event.

“I think this is a really safe campus.,” Corr said. “I went to an all-girls Catholic high school, with only 120 girls in my class, where there was a much higher crime rate. I just should have locked my door.”

Last semester, the E2Campus notification system was used to report an unwanted intruder in a student dormitory. The system is currently under review by the University.

Residential Life also responded to last semester’s break-in incident by plastering the campus with fliers notifying students of the event and make them aware of the reality of theft on campus.

“Unfortunately, all too often these are crimes of opportunity,” Neubauer said. “We all need to be the first line of protection against theft. Safety and security starts with the individual.”