How to prevent theft


Photo: Emily Kudobe/Iowa State Daily

One can never be too careful when it comes to protecting personal belongings. Students should ensure that they puchase and use locks to prevent bikes from theft on the ISU campus.

Ted Sics

Thousands of students moved into Ames over the last week, and with them came thousands of expensive laptops, tablets, bicycles and other items. Students can prevent the theft of these valuables by observing a few simple rules.

According to statistics collected by the ISU Department of Public Safety — the campus police — larceny was the most common non-alcohol-related offense in 2010, with a total of 259 cases reported. Of these, 130 involved theft from buildings such as residence halls.

Lt. Elliott Florer of the ISU Police said that theft prevention, like all crime prevention, is based on common sense.

“Make sure your dorm is locked, whether or not you’re home,” Florer said. “It’s also a good idea not to have your desk right by the doorway.”

Never leave your valuables unattended, even if you are only getting up to use the restroom. Never leave your bicycle unlocked. Some students are simply too trusting, Florer said.

“We had a guy who left his laptop in the library for eight hours to save his spot,” Florer said. “It was obviously gone when he came back.”

In the event that an item is stolen, students should file a report with DPS. Certain information will help the police recover your possessions.

“Make two lists of serial numbers and model numbers for all your expensive items — one for here, one for home,” Florer said.

Students can register their bicycles with DPS or the Ames City Hall free of charge.

Students should keep in mind that thieves often resell stolen property. Pawn shops work closely with the police to prevent this from happening, but other sources may be less reputable.

Jerry Stewart, director of DPS, said that websites such as eBay and Craigslist should be treated with caution.

“These are ‘buyers beware’ websites,” Stewart said. “If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Finally, Florer advised students not to allow strangers access to their residence halls, and to immediately report suspicious activity.

“If your gut is telling you something is wrong, something is probably wrong,” Florer said. “Contact the ISU Police directly, before you contact the residence hall.”