Thefts on campus on the rise
Oberlin College is generally regarded as a safe place. However, the unusually high number of thefts reported by students since the start of the semester has caused quite a stir in the College community.
Though petty crime is an inevitable part of college life, this is a wave beyond regular levels of theft at Oberlin.
“There have been around 50 thefts this semester, a minimum of 30 percent increase from the average,” said Robert Jones, director of Oberlin’s department of safety and security
Mudd traditionally has a high occurrence of theft.
“This is not an unusual occurrence,” said Allison Gallaher, the head of circulation at Mudd Library. “We see ups and downs in terms of this happening. It is unusual that it happened so early in the semester.”
Although campus security has several vague theories about who could be perpetrating the thefts, they have so far made little headway into apprehending any of the offenders.
“We are trying to work with the police to coordinate who it might be,” said Jones.
He added that after the report of a theft, “officers will search intensely the whole building to find items.”
“At least some of the thefts are non-students,” Jones said, in regard to the identity of the thieves. “When a theft occurs, a person or persons often report that they observed non-students searching the area. Some people are specifically looking to steal and they are probably non-students.”
The incidents of theft seem to be most prevalent in the conservatory and in Mudd Library.
“The thieves are concentrating on areas like the Conservatory and Mudd library, and security extends people into those locations during peak hours,” said Jones.
There is some question as to the reason for the increase in theft.
“You never know,” Jones responded. “What’s happening now is that they find the window of opportunity open, and it’s easy to commit theft, and they’ll keep doing it until they’re apprehended.”
It is up to students, the victims themselves, to close this window of opportunity. Almost all of the thefts have been the result of carelessness on the part of students.
“People aren’t being approached,” said Gallaher. “In every case, stuff is being left, or people are sleeping.”
Aubrey Woolverton, a College sophomore, recently had her bike stolen.
“Friday, a friend borrowed my bike and left it unlocked,” she reported. “Somebody took it.
Woolverton later recovered her bike when she found it outside of the DeCafe with the registration sticker torn off.
“I’m going to be a lot more careful,” she added. “I’m paranoid that someone’s going to steal it again. I’m getting a new lock.”
Being paranoid is perhaps a little bit extreme, but being careful is certainly the best way to avoid similar occurrences.
Robert Jones emphasized three major suggestions for students trying to avoid having their things stolen.
“Just the basics,” he said. “One, don’t leave belongings unattended. Two, keep doors locked. Three, report any suspicious activity so we can check it out.”
With these essential tips and a little bit of common sense, students should be able to avoid being victimized by scavenging thieves.
“People needn’t be afraid,” Gallaher said. “They
should just be aware.”