Thefts have become a more frequent occurrence throughout the ACU dorms this year.
Reports of theft on campus have risen from nine between the time period of August 15, 2012 – Feb. 10, 2013 to 18 thefts reported for the time period between August 15, 2013 – Feb. 10, 2014.
“I know when something does happen, you hear it from other people and it spreads around,” said Hannah Knight, sophomore psychology major from Midlothian.
The ACU Police Department encourages students to file a report when an incident happens.
“When you file reports, we know what is occurring and when and where it’s occurring so we can start developing strategies to address that,” said Jimmy Ellison, chief of police.
Of the 18 reports this year, 15 were actual thefts. The remaining three were misplaced items.
“All in all, that’s a very low crime rate,” Ellison said, “ACU is a safe place and not a lot of crime occurs here. Most universities of our size with public campus access like we have here at ACU have a lot more crime than we deal with.”
Many of the thefts that do occur inside dorms can be prevented.
Of the 15 remaining theft reports, three were laundry room thefts, which can be prevented by removing clothes in a timely manner.
Seven of the theft reports were bicycle thefts, which students can also take precautions against.
“Students should always lock their bikes to a bike rack and always use a high-quality lock,” Ellison said.
“Just use common sense and don’t leave valuable items laying around unattended,” he said.
Students can also help by taking care of their personal belongings and not leaving anything in plain sight.
“People leave backpacks unattended in the campus center or in the library; they walk off and leave their laptop sitting on the table,” Ellison said.
Many of the items stolen can be easier to track if students take precautionary measures.
Ellison said, “Keep a record of the make, model and serial number of all your electronics, especially laptops, iPad’s and bicycles.”
Another factor to consider in the rise in thefts is the hopeful increase in students taking initiative to report to ACUPD when something is amiss.
“Maybe we had underreporting last year and this year people are stepping up and making reports. Maybe people are more confident in the police so they’re more apt to file a report,” Ellison said.
Residence assistants and dorm residents should watch out for anything suspicious and file a report immediately if necessary.
“Report suspicious activity, if you see unusual people you don’t think belong in the hall, report that to ACU police immediately,” Ellison said.