Carelessness leads to theft in dormitories

By Ryan Cox
February 12, 2004

Marisa Gallelli

In recent months, students at Cabrini have found that there is a significant amount of theft occurring in the residences halls.

Charles Shaffner, director of Public Safety, calls campus theft “crimes of opportunity.” Shaffner is clear to point out what is a major deterrent of on-campus theft. “There are two major things students should consider: Lock your door at all times, even if it is just a quick visit to the bathroom, and also bring your key wherever you go.”

While some Cabrini students have had possessions stolen from their dorm room, Shaffner said that most of the time, the door was left unlocked and therefore allowed the “crime of opportunity.” Shaffner gave this as an example of a crime of opportunity: “A student passing by a dorm room may notice a door left open, occupants absent, and literally take their pick as to what they want to steal.”

Although there have been documented cases of thefts on campus, Schaffner said that there haven’t been any “kick-the-door-in burglaries.” “With this in mind, students should be aware that it is up to them primarily to lock the doors behind them,” Schaffner said.

While unlocked doors is the number one contributor to theft, a major problem at Cabrini is that students prop open exit doors, letting both wanted and unwanted people into the building.

Although it may just be a way to get friends into the latest social function, with all the best intentions in mind, according to Schaffner, the road to hell is full of them. “Many students will think they are just being polite if they hold their building door open for a person that is entering,” Schaffner said. “But think about it for a moment. You’ve never seen this person before, and they are now entering your building, completely avoiding our security systems. It is one of the things that I am very strong on,” Schaffner said.

Schaffner believes the public safety office has been taking many steps to ensure student safety. With an array of phones being installed on campus at locations previously without them, Schaffner said Public Safety has begun a project to renovate all security phone systems on campus. It will be completed by next year. “Those blue lights you see on the road to the houses will eventually be on every single phone on this campus,” Schaffner said.

On a campus of little more than 2,200 students, crime can “be prevented if each student is sure to lock their doors and bring their keys with them wherever they go,” Schaffner said.

“Ninety to 95 percent of on-campus theft is student to student,” Schaffner said. “It is rare for a theft to be anyone from off campus.”

“We plead for students to help us out in any way they can,” Schaffner said.

Posted to the web by Marisa Gallelli

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