Thefts Plague Campus

by Katy Kappele

Horizon Reporter

Thefts are a growing concern to many on Whatcom Community College’s campus.

Already, spring quarter has seen two car prowls resulting in the theft of two stereo systems and a pair of X-boxes from cars near Cascade and Pavilion, according to a published Whatcom Community College Incident Report Log.

One Whatcom parking monitor, Jadon Glanzer, 21, said that thefts across campus are “getting ridiculous.”  He works every weekday for at least an hour patrolling Whatcom parking lots, primarily as a preventative measure to warn off would-be car prowlers.

Brian Keeley, Whatcom’s facilities director, says that parking monitors have “significantly helped with the car prowl issue” in the three years the program has run.  However, he also says that campus-wide thefts have gone up in number.

Winter quarter 2010 saw 25 incidents reported, but surely more went unreported.  Of these 25 incidents, 13 were thefts, often of more than one item.  One bike was stolen from a bike rack near Laidlaw while the bike was locked up.

At least two cell phones have been stolen in the library last quarter, said Whatcom’s library director, Linda Lambert, and police reports were filed.  She also said that there have been a rash of thefts across campus.  She said students have a tendency to leave things out while they go to grab a book or visit the restrooms, even their laptops.

Laptops cell phones and IPods are rarely tracked, expensive, highly desirable, and valuable items that thieves will often pawn.

“Textbooks can be targeted at times,” Keeley said, “Especially during book buy-back.”

How to avoid thefts?  “Don’t leave it out where other people can see it,” Keeley advised.

Even faculty in Laidlaw have suffered recent thefts when offices were left unlocked.

Whatcom’s website urges students who have been victims of crime to call 911 and the administration in order to file a police report and an “Incident Report Form,” from which the Incident Report Logs are drawn.  The forms are available to students in Laidlaw 144 as well as online under “About Whatcom/Governance/Policies and Consumer Information/Consumer Info/Campus Safety.”

Keeley cautions that it may not be students who are stealing other students’ belongings. He says he loves Whatcom’s open campus, but “one of the downsides,” he said, “is that it’s an open campus.”

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