Saturday, October 25, 2014
Last updated: 21 hours ago

Petty theft on campus: are you paying attention?

While most students are safe at UBC, their unattended belongings are not.

Despite theft prevention programs implemented by Campus Security in conjunction with UBC RCMP, 214 thefts were reported to Campus Security last year. In addition to security patrols, Campus Security’s theft prevention campaign has included education and awareness programs. These include signs that warn students not to leave property unattended, the bait bike program, the bait locker program, property engraving and mapping high-theft areas.

However, Campus Security says that for all their programs, student diligence is the best defense.

According to Paul Wong, Manager of Crime Prevention and Community Relations for Campus Security, “The majority of thefts that happen are ones where somebody has left something unattended…and comes back to find that it is no longer there.”

Commerce student Winsie Tang had that experience in Koerner Library while studying for a midterm last year.

“I thought that it would be safe to leave my stuff there and just walk literally almost ten steps to the washroom and then when I came back…I realized that my bag was stolen and in it were my keys, my wallet, my phone,” said Tang.

The bag was found in an elevator at the library, but her wallet and phone were gone.

“I feel so stupid because I trusted everyone was just too into their own studying that I didn’t want to tell them to look at my stuff…and I also thought that since the washroom was so close…I was too innocent to think that someone would steal my stuff,” said Tang.

Tang reported the theft to the staff at Koerner Library.

“They weren’t really helpful. I told them I lost my stuff and then they said you can fill out this form which we will give to the campus police. The campus police never got back to me. It’s pretty useless,” said Tang.

Wong said the recovery rate for stolen property is unknown, but emphasized the 95 per cent recovery rate for items turned into Campus Security’s lost and found, totaling thousands of dollars every year.

Wong also stressed the importance of not leaving valuables unattended and properly locking bikes with hardened steel locks in order to prevent thefts. “If you have an ability to protect the property, then even if it’s for a minute, that’s something you should do,” he said. “We encourage people to use the programs that campus security has…and to watch out for each other. Try not to leave any valuable items unattended.”