Don’t be that guy: Lock your stuff up, use common sense

Whether you love the Midwest weather or hate it, many agree that the fall provides some of the best weather of the academic year for being outdoors.

Unfortunately, evil-doers tend to embrace that notion; hence, the direct relationship between good weather and spikes in crime alerts. As students return to campus, emails and text alerts about fights, muggings and other violent acts will likely return as well.

Since University police began sending crime alerts through emails, there have been questions of whether doing so creates an unnecessary culture of fear on campus.

After spending the past summer following the local police blotters, I’d have to answer with a resounding “No.”

My rationale? Apparently, none of you cares enough to lock your junk up.

Any regular police blotter followers will notice the types of crimes most commonly committed are the kind that never even show up in crime alerts: theft.

Much, if not most, of that theft is made easy because of a reluctance to use locks. So here’s a few things students most commonly leave unlocked. It seems like the only ones who know this are the ones doing all the stealing.

*Apartments*

You all know about shacking, or the act of spending a night in an apartment or house that is not your own.

Well, in weekday shacking, if the shacker is in your apartment and has an early class, there’s a good chance he or she will exit your apartment long before you get out of bed.

Since the shacker probably doesn’t have a key to your apartment, your door will be unlocked until you wake up.

Well, one morning I awoke to find that my apartment door was not only unlocked, but cracked open. Somewhat annoyed that my roommate’s shacker didn’t bother to close the door, I began to watch TV.

Well, an hour later my roommate exits his room, along with said shacker. I then realized what actually happened: My roommate left the door unlocked, and a person entered our apartment during the night, went into my roommate’s room, stared at my half-asleep roommate and his terrified/awake shacker before leaving.

The guy probably had too much to drink and got the wrong apartment. However, people entered my unlocked apartment (while I was there) several times last year, each time (supposedly) on accident.

It’s obvious to lock your apartment when nobody’s there, but apartments should be locked most of the time, especially at night. I lock my apartment even when I’m there: It’s good to build up good habits.

Especially if you live with a lot of roommates, it may be tempting to only lock the door when everyone is gone. But if you get too used to going lockless, you may forget to do it when you need to. Yes it’s annoying to unlock a door to find the roommate who locked you out sitting on the couch. But that annoyance is a small price to pay for the safety brought about by locking doors.

*Lockers*

This one should be easy: After all, these things found at campus gyms have “lock” in the name. Unfortunately it’s not that simple.

Many lockers at the ARC and CRCE have broken or otherwise unusable locks. A few don’t even have doors. Many times, however, the working locks go unused.

Theft from unlocked lockers happens a lot more than most students probably realize. Therefore, it’s wise to be as cautious as possible. When setting your locker combination, make sure you aren’t around prying eyes, and never put valuable things in an unlocked locker.

*Bicycles*

Most people ride bikes to get places fast. If time is what you’re worried about, locking your bike is counterproductive. That is, until your bike is stolen and you get to walk home.

Bikes are stolen with an alarming frequency, and everyone should invest in a good lock. The emphasis there should be on the “good,” by the way. While many bike-theft victims didn’t use a lock, some locks are known to be broken by the criminals.

*Cars*

I’m not talking about grand theft auto (luckily that doesn’t seem to happen much on campus). I’m talking about getting expensive items stolen from your vehicle.

Leaving valuable objects in plain sight removes the risk for criminals that breaking the law won’t pay off, so don’t do that.

The only thing keeping unscrupulous people from entering your car is the chance that their law-breaking could be all for nothing; well, that and locks. If you leave your car unlocked, you’ve made it easy for anyone to get in your car. It sounds so simple it’s stupid, but every week several reports come across the police blotter of theft from unlocked vehicles. It’s such an easy thing to avoid.

But in retrospect, all of these instances of theft are easy to avoid. Just take the extra few seconds each day to ensure you don’t appear on the police blotter for preventable reasons. Because I’ll be looking.

_Kevin is a senior in Media._