Students wary of leaving their valuables unprotected in their residence halls can now get a locked safe installed in their room through a new program initiated by the University Police Department.
UPD brought the safe program to GW this semester as a theft-prevention initiative and has teamed up with SafePlace USA, an outside company, to sell and install the microwave-sized safes.
“Theft of unattended property and property left in unlocked rooms is the most common crime on campus,” UPD Chief Dolores Stafford wrote in an e-mail. “So, we hope students will use the convenient service we are providing and purchase a safe to secure their valuables.”
The cost to buy a safe for four years is $435, with the option to sell it back at the end for $115. Students can also rent the safe for two consecutive semesters at a rate of $150. There is also a $30 relocation fee if it needs to be moved.
SafePlace USA performs the 30-minute installation and will also uninstall the safe and fix any damage it may have caused to the walls.
Once purchased, the safe is mounted into the wall of a student’s closet and is big enough to hold personal items such as laptops, cameras, jewelry and cash. While a student is encouraged to keep their personal belongings in the safe, the University can still open the safes for any reason.
“The housing staff members who conduct administrative searches will have the right to search the entire room including safes, lock boxes or any other containers,” Stafford said.
The electronic safes are opened by a unique four-digit combination that the student creates, which can be kept the same or changed after each use. If a student forgets the code, UPD will be able to override the code and open it for them.
SafePlace USA is an Israeli-based company that has installed more than 750,000 safes in more than 70 countries. David Napell, a representative for the company, said his company is working with about a dozen other college campuses.
He said, “They are the same safes you find in the finest hotel rooms around the world.”