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Campus officials offer steps to avoid theft

December 10, 2019

Since students are obligated to live on campus for their first two years, it’s important to know how to reduce the risk of being a victim of theft. The Annual Security Report, put out by University Police, reported five incidents of burglary in the residence halls in 2018.

On-campus property is defined by Clery Geography as “any building or property owned or controlled by an institution within the same reasonably contiguous geographic area, while being used by an institution relating to its educational purposes.” The on-campus residence halls are considered a subset of on-campus property.

Karla Thoennes is the director of Residence Life. She said many students struggle to remember to lock their doors or bring their keys when they leave for the day, “I think that is a piece [of theft], and it shows that they don’t carry their keys.” Thoennes added there is an increased opportunity for theft when a student does not lock their door.

Riding a bike to campus is one method of transportation for students. Residence hall students can rent out bike lockers located next to their hall. There are also bike racks in front of residence halls and other buildings on campus. Theft can be prevented by locking the bike to a fixed, immovable object.

The free bicycle license program offered here on campus is another way to minimize the opportunity for theft. It is available to all students, staff, and the public. The bicycle license provides University Police with the information needed to help find a lost or missing bike. An online registration form can be completed on the UW-River Falls website and a registration sticker will then be sent in the mail.

Thoennes said students should be cautious and should take the necessary steps to ensure they are not victims of theft.

“I think sometimes people want to feel ‘well this is an open campus, and I trust people,’ and that is great because we want to feel comfortable and safe.  But there are just little things you can do that minimize the opportunity for someone to swipe your books or computer,” said Thoennes.

Sometimes theft can be solved internally with instances of laundry being left in the dryer for too long and someone took an item. Lost and found buckets are located in each residence hall by the washers and dryers. If a laptop is stolen from a residence hall, the hall staff should be called and they in turn will call the campus police.

While taking precautions is appropriate, Thoennes believes that the campus has a general respect for others in their dorm. “While I’m saying you should take precautions, I do believe that we have good communities. Students in the residence halls are generally respectful of each other. This is a positive thing about our community that we have the ability to trust,” said Thoennes.