Theft persists on and off campus

Theft continues to be one of the most prevalent crimes at Geneseo, and according to University Police, one of the most preventable.

UP keeps records of several different reports of theft. According to these statistics, petit larceny, defined as theft of items valued at $1000 or less, is the most common type.

Sophomore Kevin Muller, a victim of petit larceny, said that he was hesitant to report his incident because he "didn't think they could do anything about it."

According to Kenney, most theft victims on campus are students, and many crimes occur in common areas within residence halls. He said such crimes are often crimes of opportunity where items are left in plain sight.

Although opportunity theft occurs most often, some thieves are more active. Muller and junior Amanda Senft both had belongings taken from their cars, which were parked in on-campus lots.

Muller described cash taken from his car as being stored out of sight in a compartment. "The cash was out of sight, so [a thief] would have had to break in and search to take it," he said.

Senft had left her car locked, but found the doors and hood opened. Inside, the car's compartments had been opened and several CDs had been taken.

"You don't think that there are people who would go out of their way to do something like that," said Senft. She noted that students have no way to ensure the safety of their vehicles. "You have to put your car [in the lots]. It's hard to believe that someone is going to go through your things and take them."

Students living off campus have also been victims of theft crimes. Graduate student Michael Peek had an X-box game system stolen from his living room in Courtside Apartments. Peek said that the thief climbed through his window sometime between 2 and 5 a.m. while the window was open. The crime was reported to village police, but the thief was never caught. Peek also said that in a separate incident, his bike was stolen from his front yard.

"People just write it off thinking that it's a safe town," Peek said. "But any college student can come in and take something to sell it for extra cash."

Junior Shannon Alexander had her laptop stolen from her kitchen table about two weeks ago, on a Friday night. Alexander said that she left her apartment around 10 p.m. and came back to find that a thief had climbed through the window.

"I'm sure that a lot of people don't think anyone would do something like this," said Alexander. "I certainly didn't. You would never think to lock the window."

On three recent occasions, students have filed reports of laptop theft. Dean of Students Leonard Sancilio, after being contacted by Geneseo Village Police Chief Eric Osganian, sent an e-mail to all off-campus students notifying them of the thefts and requesting that they secure their doors and windows. "We want to keep students doing things to keep themselves and their things safe," said Sancilio in the e-mail.

According to Osganian, 2 of the thefts occurred between September 19 and 20, and the other between September 27 and 28. The police are not sure whether or not the thefts are related, as there appears to be no correlation between the victims or locations. The thefts occurred on Wadsworth, Orchard, and Court Streets. Osganian said, "Our cause with the Dean was to make students aware." Both stressed the importance of securing all entrances to residences, as the thief appears to have gained easy access to the houses.

Although it is virtually impossible to stop crime completely, there are ways of reducing crimes such as theft. University Police runs programs on campus such as Operation I.D., which involves officers going to residence halls and providing opportunities for students to label their belongings.

Kenney said he was generally pleased with the recent decline in reported thefts. "We hope that proactive patrol techniques and partnerships with Residential Life in programming continue to have the desired impact on criminal behavior," said Kenney. He advises all students who have been victims of crimes to report them, so that theft can be monitored and prevented.