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Crime Prevention – Personal Property Theft

Submitted by Pauline Mothu on February 26, 2014 – 11:05 am3 Comments

Graphic by Byron Buslig

One of the biggest and most common threats on college campuses today is theft. It’s not easy to spot a thief may be looking to swipe some merchandise from an unsuspecting college student, but there are precautions that can be taken.

Beyond the traditional notebook and textbook, the things students take with them to class are often of expensive value. In addition to the content of their wallets and purses, many students have cell phones, laptops or tablets they bring to class.

Although these devices seem more convenient to take notes, students bringing them to campus face a greater risk of be victims of theft.

According to Crime Prevention Officer Jennifer Sibley of the Department of Public Safety, the main problem that leads to theft is that “people keep their things lying around or in their cars.”

Students should not leave anything in their cars – especially when parked on lot 12 and 15. Even small change should be removed.  “Someone will break in the car to take those pennies,” Sibley said. In many cases students get their belongings stolen because they leave them unattended, not thinking of the possible consequences.

Sibley reported that not long ago, a student parked on the parking lot near Stabler Hall and, with his warning lights on, left his Iphone and gloves on top of his car. This kind of behavior leads to theft. Fortunately for this student, someone brought both the Iphone and gloves to DPS and left a note on the owner’s car. “When this student came in my office, I told him he was blessed because it never happens.”

Studious students spend plenty of time in the library and may be tempted to leave their belonging unattended to simply go to the bathroom or take a phone call. If a students needs to step out for a moment, the best thing to do is take everything or ask someone trustworthy to watch the belongings.

Sibley has advice students who live in the dorms to lock their doors at all time.

“It seems logic to lock doors when we leave, she says, but some do not do it.”

She said that sometimes some students block the outside door open because they do not want to wait for their friend to come over and open the door. This behavior can result in someone who does not belong to the residence hall being in there because somebody blocked the door open.

Sibley advises residents to look if someone is following them to the dorms as well. She reports that a student at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville was attacked after letting another student into her residence. He was following her and she thought he was living in the dorms as well. He was not.

In 2012, the most recent year for which there are statistics, DPS reported two cases of robbery, ten cases of burglary and three cases of motor vehicles stolen. It may not seem like much for the whole year, but these numbers can be reduced if students remember to pay a little extra attention to their belongings and surroundings.




  • Michael Simons says:

    Car break in’s and Rape were the Issues we faced back in the Mid 1980′s I am glad to see the School grow and become even more safe. We were blessed with not having cell phones , laptops and tablets to steal back then.

  • yamin says:

    The best way to eliminate the phenomenon such as theft is to awaken the conscience within the student so that he feels it is an observer of himself, even if no surveillance cameras

  • Marc says:

    Most mobile phones today have GPS. So stealing is becoming increasingly difficult.