Campus thefts are on the rise

Stauffer has highest theft rate on at Queen’s

Campus Security has reported six thefts so far this academic year.
Campus Security has reported six thefts so far this academic year.

Campus Security has reported an increase in thefts in buildings across campus.

Stauffer Library sees the most reported thefts compared to other libraries on campus. It’s not isolated to these buildings alone, according to Campus Security.

Places like the ARC, the Medical School buildings and unlocked residence rooms are all targets for thieves seeking unattended belongings.

“Theft is a crime of opportunity,” Murray Skeggs, Campus Securities case management coordinator, told the Journal via email. “Students leave their items get a snack or make a phone call, and in those few moments an opportunity is created.”

Common items reported stolen are laptops, bicycles, wallets and cell phones.

Skeggs said six incidents of library thefts have been reported to Campus Security in this academic year. Last year 64 thefts were reported throughout campus.

“Thefts occur most often at times when there are a high volume of patrons using the Library, such as exam periods,” Skeggs said.

Thieves on campus aren’t likely to be members of the Queen’s community, he added.

“They will come to the property looking for an opportunity to take an unattended item,” he said, adding that the thieves are often of similar age to most students, enabling them to blend in.

Thieves who are caught stealing on campus are turned over to the Kingston Police and issued a Notice of Prohibition for University Property and will be charged with trespassing should they return.

Campus Security patrols campus and public areas to be a visual deterrent for possible thefts.

Adam Zunder, ArtSci ’13, was studying for his midterm in Stauffer Library when he went to grab a coffee.

He was gone no more than 10 minutes, he said, when his MacBook was stolen.

“My first reaction was panic—[I] didn’t believe it,” he told the Journal via email.

Zunder said he questioned everyone around him and reported the theft to security immediately.

Zunder never got his laptop back.

Peter Redpath, ArtSci ’15, shared a similar experience when he had a $20 textbook stolen last year while he was studying in Stauffer.

“I couldn’t have been gone more than 10 minutes from my carrel,” Redpath told the Journal via email.

He added that he never reported the incident and didn’t realize that he could.

Campus Security initiated an awareness campaign in the spring of last year for campus libraries, which involves leaving note cards stating “In the time it took for me to leave this card, a thief could have stolen your property” to inform students of the risk.

— With files from Julia Vriend

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