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Theft rising problem on campus

An increasing number of students are finding themselves victims of theft, one of the most common crimes on campus.

Burglary and dorm room theft have been popular crimes reported during the semester by students. Items such wallets, bags, iPods, shoes and other various possessions have been stolen from various locations on campus.

Sgt. Matthew Maestas of Criminal Investigations acknowledges dorm room theft as a big issue on campus.

“It mainly comes from students leaving their doors unlocked, even if it’s for the simple task of going to the bathroom for 30 seconds,” said Maestas.

Not only have burglary and dorm room theft been a major issue on campus, a number of students on campus have experienced computers and bike thefts.

VSU Campus Security suggests that students take affirmative and proactive steps to protect themselves against this type of college crime. Students should try to be aware of their surroundings, especially in areas where thieves are most likely to commit theft. This is a crucial factor in crime prevention.

There are also a variety of products available that can very useful in combating this type of student crime.

Maestas suggests that students get software to track the whereabouts of their computers if they get stolen.

“We have been pushing for students to use programs such as LoJack programs that can be found on absolute.com,” he said. “I use it on my personal computer-phenomenal software.”

In an attempt to try to prevent bike theft, Maestas recommends that students follow proper procedures when locking their bikes.

“Make sure bikes are locked up on a designated bike rack,” he said. “I would recommend the U-Bolt locks because they are the hardest to break into.”

Maestas also encourages students to enroll in the Bicycle Anti-Theft program or the B.A.T. program. The B.A.T. program allows students who own bikes to sign a form and receive a decal with their I.D. number to place on the crossbar of the frame between the seat and the handlebars of their bikes. That information is then put into the University Police computer system for tracking in case of theft.

“It helps us find the bike or if another agency finds the bike, we can recover it,” Maestas said.

Maestas encourages students to write down the serial numbers of anything of value to them or make distinct descriptions of their personal belongings to make it easier for their possessions to be found.

Victims of theft should call VSU police department at their emergency number at 229-259-5555 or file a report in the police department on the 2nd floor of the Oak Street Parking Deck.

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