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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    University bookstores crack down on theft

    Reginald, a pre-business freshman, drops his backpack by the front door as he walks into the Arizona Bookstore, 845 N. Park Ave., on Tuesday. Both of the Arizona Bookstore locations are enforcing the security measure more strictly this semester.
    Reginald, a pre-business freshman, drops his backpack by the front door as he walks into the Arizona Bookstore, 845 N. Park Ave., on Tuesday. Both of the Arizona Bookstore locations are enforcing the security measure more strictly this semester.

    Although the overall campus theft rate has dropped during the past few years, university-area bookstores are increasing their enforcement of safety measures to prevent theft of popular items such as UA jerseys and textbooks.

    Among the theft-prevention techniques is the “”please leave your bag by the door,”” method, which is being enforced this year in both Arizona Bookstore locations.

    David Morgan, general manager of the Arizona Bookstore chain, said the backpack policy has always been in effect at his stores, but it is being enforced more heavily this year.

    “”Ninety-five percent of customers smile and go along with it, the (other 5 percent) of business that hurts probably makes up for it in prevention,”” said Morgan.

    Jackie Taylor, an undeclared freshman, said an employee should always watch the bags up front.

    “”I don’t like it, but I understand if you have to do it,”” Taylor said.

    Bill Patterson, a music education freshman,

    It kind of makes you feel like a
    terrorist walking in here, putting all your stuff down like you’re in the airport.

    – Bill Patterson,
    music education freshman

    said the bag check-in is a necessary precaution against theft, but it could seem a little harsh at times.

    “”It kind of makes you feel like a terrorist walking in here, putting all your stuff down like you’re in the airport,”” Patterson said.

    Catherine Correia, marketing specialist for the UofA Bookstores, said the backpack-at-the-door method was used in the old location, before the Student Union Memorial Center renovation was completed in 2003.

    When the bookstore moved to the new facility, however, it was designed to be more “”welcoming”” than the old one, Correia said.

    “”The new policy had a lot to do with the psychological factor. …Our philosophy is that the majority of students are honest,”” and they shouldn’t be suspects as soon as they walk in the door, Correia said.

    If students are caught stealing, they are placed into a diversion program through the Dean of Students Office.

    “”If we catch someone stealing, it’s a learning experience for everyone. After all, we are an educational institution,”” joked Correia.

    The main UofA Bookstore, as well as the four satellite locations on campus, uses greeters, security cameras and undercover staff members to keep theft to a minimum, said Correia.

    Calculated shrinkage, or loss due to theft, was 1 percent last year, compared to the national average of 3 percent and above, said Correia.

    Morgan also said the Arizona stores’ losses from theft have remained around 1 percent over the past four years, adding that a good percentage of that theft is from people not connected with the university.

    Morgan said there have only been two instances of theft at his property so far this year.

    Because of the Arizona Bookstore locations, one on North Park Avenue and East Sixth Street and the other on North Park Avenue and East Second Street, it is easy for people to come in, grab merchandise and run out the door, Morgan said.

    “”We’ve had the obvious professionals just run in and grab a handful of jerseys,”” said Morgan. “”One guy bought $600 worth of books at one location, then went down the street and sold them back at the other location.””

    The Arizona Bookstore locations lie outside of the University of Arizona Police Department’s jurisdiction, so the Tucson Police Department, who is farther away and takes longer to respond, has to be called to report a theft, Morgan said.

    According to UAPD records, there were 589 reports of property theft in 2005, versus 717 in 2002.

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