Winter Study theft trends down

Security received reports of nine thefts of personal possessions in dormitories during Winter Study. Three of these reports involved thefts of Sony Playstation 2 video game systems from dormitories in the Greylock Quad over the span of three days, from Jan. 11 to 13. David Murphy, departmental supervisor of Security, said that the thefts reported this Winter Study accounted for just 12 percent of total thefts reported this academic year, which is considerably less than in previous years.

This year, a total of six Playstations have been stolen, of which five were taken from the Greylock quad (two from Gladden, three from Mark Hopkins), and one was taken from Sage Hall. The Playstation systems stolen from Greylock have not been recovered, and the thieves have not been identified or found.

According to Murphy, the number of thefts reported to Security normally increases during Winter Study due to the number of visitors on campus. Murphy noted that students often leave their ID cards in the possession of their visitors, allowing them full access to dorms.

“If you see someone you don’t recognize, someone you don’t feel should be in your dorm, call [Security] immediately. Let us check it out,” Murphy said as a suggestion to students. Murphy has prepared various pie graphs that illustrate trends in thefts for the 2001-2 school year thus far. According to the charts, there have been a total of 73 thefts on campus. The largest number of incidents occurred in October (23), followed closely by September (21). Bicycles are by far the most commonly stolen item; twenty-six bicycles have been stolen this year. Thefts of furniture and laptop computers are also fairly widespread; nine pieces of furniture and six computers have been stolen since September.

Murphy’s graphs also illustrate a breakdown of thefts by dormitory. Brooks house has had the most thefts, with seven. A possible reason for this statistic is the fact that Brooks often holds the Brooks Late-Night party, and personal possessions have been reported missing after some parties. Mark Hopkins and Gladden follow as a close second and third, with six and five thefts, respectively. Most dorms on campus have had at least one theft, and thefts have also been reported at various non-residential locations, such as Chandler gym, Sawyer library, the Simon Squash Center and storage areas in the Greylock quad. About two-thirds of the theft cases remain open and unsolved.

“Most of these thefts are crimes of opportunity. Taking simple steps of crime prevention will reduce the opportunity,” Murphy said. He recommended that students not violate the card access system, lock their room doors, and keep valuables out of common areas.

“We don’t have many forced-entry larcenies, with people breaking windows, etc.,” Murphy said. “Most of these thefts have been people just walking by, seeing something they want, when there’s no one around.”

Murphy also encouraged students to pick up high-value inventory sheets from the security office to keep track of valuables. Students may also take advantage of the free engraving service Security provides.

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