Personal property theft poses biggest on-campus threat

The most prominent crime concern on campus is theft of personal belongings, especially from vehicles, TCU Police said.”It is a problem across the nation, but on college campuses it is like Christmastime at the mall,” TCU Police Sgt. Kelly Ham said. “You just need more security because there are so many cars.”

Ham said the best way students can keep their property safe is to use common-sense precautions such as hiding their valuables and locking their doors.

“Criminals do not like anything that is hard,” Ham said. “If they see one car that is unlocked and has valuables visible, they are much more likely to break in than if they see a locked car that appears to contain no valuables.”

Lance Littleton, a junior marketing major, said he always locks his car doors because he has heard there are many break-ins on campus.

“Other than that I feel really safe around campus,” Littleton said.

The parking lots are not the only places on campus where students are at risk of property theft. In 2004, there were 14 burglaries reported in residence halls, according to the TCU Police Web site.

“I often see students make the mistake of leaving their dorm rooms unattended and unlocked, even if it is just for a short amount of time while they go down the hall or to the rest room.” Ham said. “It only takes a few minutes for someone to come in your room and steal your stuff.”

Ham said students not only need to be more cautious regarding the safety of their valuables, but they also need to be aware of their personal safety.

Pamela Christian, an officer with the crime prevention division, is writing a new assault prevention play that she hopes will help students make wise decisions and stay away from dangerous situations.

“The new play will refresh and update the situations for the TCU audience,” Christian said.

Assualt Prevention Theatre is a visual presentation of sexual assault issues, according to the TCU Police Web site. The presentations are created by the police department and preformed by a group of theater majors.

“Students need to know how to avoid situations that could be harmful.” Christian said.

Ham said crime prevention is a great policy, but not one that always works. If any student becomes the victim of a crime, they he or she is encouraged to file a report with the TCU Police Department as soon as possible to activate an investigation and enable alerts to be sent out to the campus community.