The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

A conversation on theft prevention with UI police detective


Each semester, the threat of break-ins remains prevalent on the University campus. In the last two months, theft and property-related crimes have represented more than 45% of all reports to University police, according to the University of Illinois Police Department’s daily crime log.

Given its regular occurrence on campus, University police detective Tara Hurless shared some ways to prevent campus’ most common crime. 

“Theft is the number one reported crime on campus, but it’s 100% preventable,” Hurless said. “It is really prevalent and we need to take measures.”

Whether it’s a residence hall, apartment or house, the easiest way to prevent a break-in is by locking your door, but it doesn’t stop there, Hurless said.

“I know at a young age we’re all taught to hold the door open for the person behind us, but you don’t know who’s not supposed to be there,” Hurless said. “So even though it may seem rude, don’t let others piggyback off of you getting into a space that has you scan your card or use your keys to get in.” 

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If you’re ever to lose your card or fob, it can be used to get into buildings under your name until you report it missing and the barcode can be voided, Hurless added.

“If you lose one of them, or they’re stolen, report that to the Illini Union Bookstore,” Hurless advised.

In the event that a break-in does occur, Hurless advised to contact University police immediately. They are here to serve students, just like any other service provided on campus, she said.

“Sometimes people don’t feel comfortable talking to the police, which I can understand,” Hurless said. “But we are here because if you don’t feel safe and secure, how are you gonna be successful in getting your degree?”

Hurless noted that there are many measures of support, including over 2,500 cameras throughout campus to help support student victims. 

Crime reports spike following breaks due to exceeding amounts of burglaries while students are away.

“Folks know that we go away for a month for Christmas, a week for Thanksgiving and spring break,” Hurless said. “We need to make sure people are locking their doors.”

According to Hurless, fraternities and sororities are optimal targets compared to other student residential housing due to their lack of security and high number of residents. Over this winter break, three fraternities’ houses were broken into within just two weeks, with at least one being left unsecured.

“They get broken into because you’re breaking into a house that has 25-plus rooms,” Hurless explained. “You’re getting a lot more stuff.”

Hurless also noted that theft isn’t limited to inside your apartment or residence hall either. There have been cases of theft in other buildings, including study and laundry rooms. 

“Some people will take your laundry out and push it to the side or they may just take it,” Hurless said. “At the library, if you leave everything unattended, someone’s gonna say ‘Oh, a Mac computer, I’m gonna permanently borrow that.’”

Hurless noted that whether you’re new to your housing situation or it’s your fourth year, it’s important to practice precautionary measures. She encourages victims of any crime to reach out and remember that University police are here to serve the student population.

“We need to make sure we’re reporting things so you have the right folks trying to help you out,” Hurless said. “We can’t fix things we don’t know about.”


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Michael Sweeney
Michael Sweeney, Assistant News Editor
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