The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday February 2nd

UNC students worry about theft

DTH/ Amanda Purser
Buy Photos DTH/ Amanda Purser

Keeping possessions safe on campus is a major concern for students.

In 2008 there were 337 property crimes, a reduction from the 446 that occurred in 2006 and the 448 in 2007.

Residence halls have not been a safe haven, with 26 larcenies or burglaries occurring in 2009. Stolen items ranged from money and purses to earrings and electronics.

Randy Young, spokesman for the UNC Department of Public Safety, and Rick Bradley, assistant director of housing, offered tips on protecting yourself from theft.

How can students keep items safe in their dorms?

Bradley: “If it’s somebody that they don’t know, they shouldn’t let let him in. Residence halls doors are closed 24/7, but this is only effective if students refrain from opening the door to strangers.”

Young identified “piggybacking,” which happens when someone allows another person to pass through a secure door, as one of the biggest problems regarding safety.

How can students secure rooms?

Young: “They should shut and lock their door when they use the bathroom or visit friends.”

Young added that it only takes a moment for someone to come inside and take something.

“Value resides in small packages, which creates an opportunity for those who are looking to rob.”

How frequent are incidents?

Bradley: “With 32 residence halls and three apartment communities, we’ve had probably less than 10 incidents this semester.”

Bradley said he believes the thieves are typically from within the community instead of an outsider.

“When a door is open and there is a wallet or a phone, it is an easy grab”, he said.

Are rooms particularly vulnerable to theft?

Young: “There were about 300 robberies on campus last year, but a large percentage of those were in open areas.”

He added that students often leave cell phones and laptops unattended or forget books and bags. Theft is a lot more common in libraries, the SRC and Student Stores, he said.

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