Instances of theft on campus saw a sharp increase since January, climbing to 58 instances in March, a tally that prompted the University Police Department to increase patrols on campus.
UPD Chief Kevin Hay said when his department distinguishes a discernible pattern of thefts, he boosts plainclothes operations in those areas.
The 58 thefts this month are almost double what they were last March, when 29 thefts were reported. March theft reports are also higher than the 43 reported thefts in February and the 39 reported thefts in January.
“The hard part to stop is when students leave wallets, jewelry and electronics out in plain view and then?leave their rooms?with the door?open or unlocked,” Hay said. “These types of thefts are hard to stop, unless residents change their behavior.”
Hay said officers are also separately “ramping up use of our mountain bike patrols,” and will also boost foot patrols because of the warming weather.
He said the department also anticipates a spike in the number of purse and iPod thefts, as students will be more vulnerable to snatchings of this nature while outside.
“Criminal activity in all jurisdictions tends to rise during periods of nice weather,” Hay said.?”It is across the board.”
Hay said public areas remain the most common sites of theft, followed by the Marvin Center and Gelman Library – the same spots that were the most frequent locations of theft in 2010.
UPD began to beef up security at the Marvin Center March 10, limiting access after 10 p.m. to just two entrances and stationing additional officers there, after two laptops were stolen from the building the night of March 2.
Hay also said the increase in thefts on campus is indicative of a pattern seen around the entire District, adding that students can play a role in theft prevention.
“Don’t be so trusting,” Hay said. “I would encourage everyone to think about their sense of ‘situational awareness,’ or what some would call it being ‘street-wise.'”