In 2017, 11 burglaries were reported to Shippensburg University campus police; 10 were on campus, and seven of those were in on-campus housing, according to an annual university security report.
According to SU police Lt. Thomas Rumberger, the types of crime that occur on campus differ from year to year. Sometimes one particular crime will be more common than others. As an explanation for last year’s theft rates, he said there were thefts that occurred close together last October in Naugle and Seavers halls.
“If you get a situation like that where you have one person getting in and they’re going building to building checking for open rooms you could have an increase just from one individual,” Rumberger said.
The most common cause for these thefts are students leaving their doors unlocked and their rooms unattended. It is difficult to tell if someone does or does not live in the hall or the building because students do not often know everyone on their floor or in their building.
Commonly stolen items include cash, clothing, jewelry and electronics. Most of these items are hard to track down unless the student has a serial number for them.
“The big thing we’re using now, which applies to the electronics, is any kind of tracking,” Rumberger said.
As far as catching a thief, the options are limited. Security cameras are mostly in common areas such as lounges and lobbies. If a person steals something, puts it in his or her backpack and walks out of the building, it is difficult to distinguish him or her from another student, he said.
Rumberger held a program in the past with residence halls, and a week before the program, residence hall staff put stickers on doors that were unlocked.
On the day of the program, students with stickers on their doors were asked to come to the lounge where Rumberger hosted the program to discuss the importance of locking doors.
He recommends students lock their doors, secure their valuables and mark their property. The SU Police Department has engravers that it lends students to engrave their valuables. He also advised that students do not let people into the residence halls who do not live there.
“Certainly be aware of your surroundings, and without being overly paranoid, I would say be suspicious of people you see in the residence halls that you don’t know. If you do see something, say something.”