The crime that takes place the most on the majority of college campuses doesn’t grab headlines or move legislators to pass an avalanche of new laws. The fact is that for the overwhelming number of colleges the number one crime is theft.
Theft is a crime of opportunity and knowing what gets stolen most will help even the most naïve freshman student reduce opportunity for theft. So what gets stolen most often and what can a college student do to reduce chances of being a victim?
- Textbooks…yes textbooks. On-line sources recently reported that the average college student expenditure for textbooks each year runs over $1,200.00. Considering that the textbook for the Criminology course that I teach costs $149.00 and is the paperback version. that $1,200.00 figure might be low. Utilizing e-books can all but eliminate textbook theft. However, many students like the convenience of a touchable text. Students should place their name in numerous places in a book where removing the name would take away value when the book is sold to a book buy-back vendor. Always report the book stolen to campus police as often police coordinate with buy-back vendors and provide a list of stolen books with distinguishing markings. Don’t leave unguarded books in plain sight. Walk through any college library and you will see thousands of dollars of unguarded books available for theft.
- Clothing. Leaving clothing in the dryer for several days at home is annoying to mom, but doing so in a college residence hall is an invitation for theft. Always mark clothing with an indelible marker. If you see someone wearing your sweater or jeans you must be able to prove those items belong to you. Loaning out clothing is also something that should be avoided.
- Cash. Use of debit cards has reduced the theft of cash, especially in residence halls. However, students love to announce birthdays, and other times when they get money/cash from parents and other relatives. Students should keep in mind if they can think of a secret place to hide cash, somebody can also think to look in that place. In addition, few students utilize small in room safes which are hard to open and very obvious if removed from the room. Some colleges offer these safes for rent and should be considered as a very inexpensive insurance policy.
Taking a few minutes to reduce the opportunity for theft can save a great deal of heartache down the line.
For Safety Solutions 4 Schools this is Wayne Silcox
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