Break and enters target students

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western students should be on the lookout after a recent series of break and enters in London.

Ryan Van Wagner, a fourth-year sociology student living near Oxford and Adelaide, is a recent theft victim.

He returned home after the weekend to find his front door kicked down and $520 worth of valuables missing. A DVD player, Xbox 360 and Playstation were stolen, along with their controllers and a few games.

Constable Michelle Romano, media representative of the London Police Service, said electronics are the most common valuables stolen in student thefts. “Laptops, booze, mp3 players, digital cameras, and cash are all targeted items,” Romano said.

She is familiar with student robberies and warns, “Robberies usually happen when [students] go out to the bars.” Break and enters are usually high on the weekend, when thieves see darkened houses and know that students have left for the evening.

Elgin Austen, director of Campus Community Police Service, recommends students lock their doors and windows, even if they leave for a few minutes.

He recalls one incident in which a student returning from the bathroom noticed another student walking down his residence hall with a backpack. Upon entering his room, the student noticed his laptop was gone.

“We’ve caught strangers walking through residences purely with the purpose of stealing,” Austen said.

“People prone to crime understand the vulnerability of students.”

Thieves know students are easy targets, so Austen suggests students take further steps to secure their valuables.

Infosource in the University Community Centre will engrave your driver’s license number into your laptop. Austen also recommends you tie down your laptop when working in the library.

Romano summarizes with one statement: “Lock it up!” She also recommends reporting any suspicious people or actions as soon as possible.

For more tips on protecting your valuables, visit www.uwo.ca/police

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