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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Police challenge freshmen to combat theft

    UAPD Officer Mario Leon informs 19-year-old Andrew Reynolds that its unsafe to smowboard on the ILC steps. UAPD is hoping to reduce crime and theft this year by speaking with students at orientation.
    UAPD Officer Mario Leon informs 19-year-old Andrew Reynolds that it’s unsafe to smowboard on the ILC steps. UAPD is hoping to reduce crime and theft this year by speaking with students at orientation.

    With the fall semester approaching, campus will soon be flooded with members of the freshman class of 2010, whom police hope will accept their challenge to drastically lower the number of property thefts at the UA.

    “”This year we issued a challenge to the freshman class to be different from any class ever before,”” said Sgt. Eugene Mejia, University of Arizona Police Department spokesman. “”Go the extra step that previous classes weren’t willing to do.””

    Although crime is not limited to a specific class, Mejia said freshmen often come to campus as trusting individuals and may not take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their property and themselves.

    While in residence halls, freshmen are urged to always lock their door before they leave, even if it’s for a short period of time.

    “”It sounds simple, but students will run down the hall for five minutes and five minutes turns into an hour, and their room has been open all this time,”” said Pam Obando, associate director of Residence Life. “”No. 1 thing – keep your room locked.””

    This year Residence Life will have electronic inventory sheets available to students so they can keep track of the serial number of electronic items like laptops and MP3 players.

    “”UAPD often retrieves stolen items because of the serial numbers,”” Obando said.

    Students are advised to give a copy of the inventory sheet to their parents and keep one for themselves, Obando said.

    Obando also warns students to be careful of which items they bring to campus.

    “”Don’t bring grandma’s heirloom jewelry,”” Obando said.

    Students should also check to see if any of their possessions are covered by their parents’ homeowner’s insurance, Obando said.

    To keep vehicles safe from theft, UAPD recommends locking car doors, making sure the windows are completely up and hiding personal items in the glove box or under a seat to avoid a potential thief’s attention.

    UAPD is aiming to reduce crime on campus this year by speaking with new students at orientations and training UA employees to be more aware of crime.

    “”Students need to take ownership in reducing property crime,”” Mejia said. “”This is their home, their campus.””

    In 2005 UAPD had 589 reported property thefts and 327 reported bike thefts, but those figures were a reduction from previous years – a reduction from 688 property thefts and 417 bike thefts in 2004.

    “”Property crime (on campus) is higher than we’d like it to be,”” said Mejia.

    “”The No. 1 mistake people make is they don’t watch their property, or they leave it unattended,”” Mejia said.

    UAPD will also offer steering wheel and bike locks at a reduced price this year through the Lock It or Lose It program to prevent bicycle theft.

    “”We stress the use of strong, hardened-steel U-Locks to make it harder for criminals to steal (bikes),”” Mejia said. “”It’s easier for us to spot someone carrying bolt cutters versus wire cutters which can be pocket-sized and easily hidden. Make it harder for them.””

    Engineering senior Jim Riley learned all too well about the importance of a U-Lock after he had his cable lock cut and his bike stolen freshman year.

    “”It was like the second week of school. That quick and it was gone,”” said Riley. “”I got owned, big time.””

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