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Petty thefts common on campus

Petty thefts common on campus

thief-stock-image-Crestock-e1412704763777.jpg

EMAN BARE / VICTORIA MARTINEZ The Sheaf

Natalie Skilliter’s green Lululemon backpack was stolen outside the anatomy lab on the third floor of the health science building Feb. 16. The bag contained a semester’s worth of notes, a Mac laptop, textbooks and other personal items.

Unfortunately, there are no security cameras in that area of the building and there is no way to track who took the bag.

Theft on campus happens a lot more than we think it does. We have all seen those bright orange posters warning students against leaving items unattended around the library, but everyone seems to think that it will not happen to them. This is not the case. In 2010, there were 105 thefts on campus reported to campus security. Students are advised not to leave items alone on campus.

Leon Thompson, vice president student affairs for the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union, advised students to use the Campus Security services available on campus.

“If students find that something has been stolen from them on campus, they should contact campus security at 966-5555 as well as the city police,” he said, adding that he is also exploring students’ concerns.

“I’ve spoken to a couple of students regarding their concerns, and have followed up with campus safety.”

As students, we all suffer from the same expenses: pricey textbooks, pricey laptops, that venti double shot vanilla latte and, not to mention, tuition. Theft is an unfair financial burden and in the case of stolen bookbags, it puts the victim at risk of failing classes because of the notes that might have been in that stolen backpack.

Campus Security does monitor security cameras on campus in order to minimize theft. However, as we have seen in the case of Skilliter’s backpack, these security cameras are not everywhere. The best thing students can do is not take chances and not leave items unattended.

Jared Brown, the Indigenous Students’ Council representative at student council, brought similar student concerns to council on Feb. 17.

He had two student complaints about thefts and security in the Murray library, both of major technological items.

He ran into one of those students during midterms at Louis’.

“I saw this guy just pounding beers, and he told me ”˜You know what, I was upstairs in the library studying. I went to take a pee, and when I came back my computer was gone, my wallet was gone, my iPod is gone,’ ” said Brown.

“It’s midterms. He’s writing papers, and has nothing.”

Brown felt the thefts were worth examining. Specifically, the lack of security on upper library floors — valuable study space on campus.

“You know we’re failing out students, we really are… students are studying and we’re not safe when we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing. It really pissed me off.”

When he brought his concerns to student’s council, financial constraints were cited.

“The response I got was initially we just don’t have the money. That’s a cop out. That’s bullshit,” said Brown. “This is a multi-million dollar institution and there’s nothing being done. That’s just apathy.”

He was also told that video cameras would not be effective as theft-deterrents, as they would only catch culprits after the fact and that would-be robbers would wear hoods to disguise their identity.

While he noted his appreciation that the university is taking steps to improve security in other sectors, as with removing no-longer-functional safety phones, Brown said this is a long-standing problem that the university should address.

“They know about it, they know this is happening. There’s been no steps but a piece of paper — a nice neon piece of paper I might add — that says, ”˜Hey guys, watch your stuff.’“I don’t know if it’s sheer lack of budget, but frankly we just got funding for nuclear research and I bet you damn right there’s some type of security in those plans.”

image: Crestock

This piece first appeared in The Sheaf - The University of Saskatchewan Newspaper Since 1912.

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