Thefts in University buildings down during summer

Thefts in University buildings have decreased overall since the end of spring semester, according to University Police Chief Jeff Christensen.

However, within the past month, several visitors to the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center and the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) have had items stolen.

Bill Mischo, head of the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center, said that a theft problem still exists at the library during the summer.

“We still have a lot of people coming into the library,” Mischo said. “There are more incidents of theft in actuality than are reported to us.”

Ed Morford, assistant director of risk management for Campus Recreation, said he does not see as much of a theft problem during the summer as during the school year.

“Theft has tailed way off now that it is summer,” Morford said.

Some visitors of the ARC have never experienced any stolen items or heard of anyone having something stolen from them.

“I’ve never had anything I brought to the campus recreation locations stolen from me,” said Aleksandr Shulman, a recent graduate. “I always bring my own lock.”

Jennifer Lee, a recent graduate, said that she doesn’t use the lockers, but keeps her possessions in sight.

“When I come to the ARC to play volleyball, I just bring my stuff into the gym with me and keep it in my backpack where I can see it,” Lee said.

Administrators from both the Grainger Library and ARC have been working with the University Police Department all year to curbing thefts within the buildings.

“Our staff works very closely with the campus police,” Mischo said. “We’ve made inroads at identifying people in the building that are and are not students of the University.”

The presence of a police officer in the building helps keep the premises safe from crime, Morford said.

“During the spring semester, there were police officers who would come in periodically throughout the day,” Morford said. “They have done a good job at catching some of the thieves.”

Mischo said that the library experiences the most thefts during finals week.

“During finals week, people aren’t careful about guarding their possessions,” Mischo said. “Thefts usually will occur if someone doesn’t keep their laptops or books on them when they leave for a certain amount of time.”

The library posts signs that warn of high theft areas in the library as well as check out laptop locks to visitors.

“We have been checking out laptop locks for the past two semesters,” Mischo said. “The locks are $3 to check out. They have made a big difference in the amount of thefts we have had reported.”

Morford said that most thefts reported are crimes of opportunity.

“Rarely do thefts involve breaking into any lockers,” Morford said. “I’d like to educate people to not bring valuables and to make sure the building is not a good place for thieves to go to steal things.”