On-campus theft increases as semester ends

By Gus Bode

Campus police report the majority of on-campus thefts during the last few weeks of the semester, but student awareness can prevent some.

“The number one thing is to be alert,” said Russ Thomas, a campus police officer and safety expert. “Don’t be paranoid, but use good judgment. Be responsible and be careful what environment you get yourself into.”

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Sergeant John Allen, SIU campus police officer, sits in his vehicle Tuesday. Allen said most crimes on campus are crimes of opportunity and he urges students to be aware of their surroundings and not leave possessions unattended. Sarah Gardner | Daily Egyptian

Theft is the No. 1 crime, both  on campus and nationally. Thomas said laptops, cell phones and textbooks are the main stolen items on campus.

He said although SIU is only responsible for 1 to 2 percent of the crime in Carbondale, on-campus theft is still a reoccurring problem.

Although there have been disturbances in the past, Thomas said SIUC’s campus is typically quiet, which distinguishes it from other universities.

Incidents still occur, however, and Thomas said students should keep their bookbags to their side if they can. If they have to use the restroom, he suggested they have somebody they know watch their belongings.

Matt McGuire, a junior studying journalism from Carbondale, said he keeps his belongings within arm’s reach in order to prevent theft.

“If you have control of your personal belongings, you don’t have worry about them getting stolen,” McGuire said.

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Yvet Holmes, a junior from Belleville studying journalism, said she always keeps her belongings with her in class.

“I figured that theft was an issue, so I didn’t want to leave my stuff laying around,” Holmes said. “I would leave my backpack in class, but depending on the day I would take it with me.”

Thomas said there are cameras set up on campus to help police monitor crime, and the Department of Public Safety’s website has a daily report that lists all on-campus crimes.

 

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