Police warn students: Crime exists even at BYU

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    By Autumn Salvesen

    They were only gone for an hour, but that was enough time for all the money from their wallets to be stolen from their apartment.

    “It takes three things to commit a crime: a criminal, a victim, and an opportunity,” said Rick Moreno, crime prevention officer for the Campus Police. “If one of these things is missing, a crime cannot take place.”

    Moreno said scenarios like this occur all the time. Twenty-one theft crimes were reported in June, which Moreno said is a slow month for crime and that the number increases considerably during fall and winter semesters.

    “A lot of people just don’t pay attention to their surroundings, they walk with their heads down and are not protective of their property,” Moreno said.

    Student’s bikes, backpacks, and other personal belongings like CDs and CD players are commonly stolen.

    “Bike theft happens on campus a lot, mostly because people do not lock their bikes,” Moreno said. “If you ride a bike be sure to lock it preferably with a U lock, if that is not a available, wrap the chain around the body of the bike.”

    While crimes like theft are common occurrences, there are many precautions a person can take to safeguard themselves and their belongings.

    Some advice given by Charles Cola, police commissioner for the Yonkers Police Department that can be found at the Web address, westnet.com/ypd/vehicle.htm, said to always park in well-lighted areas and not to leave valuables in sight to tempt a thief.

    Cola also said to park in areas by open businesses.

    Most crimes committed on campus are done by people visiting the campus and only every now and then a student is involved, Moreno said.

    Students can also do many other things to protect themselves from theft not only on campus. Moreno said to pay attention to surrounding people and report them if they look suspicious.

    “They might not be doing anything wrong and are on campus for a legitimate reason, but if they do have ulterior motives, they will know that somebody is on to them,” Moreno said.

    Bob Stuber, a family safety expert and former policemen said to never leave your door unlocked and to lock sliding glass doors and windows.

    He also said to leave the curtains open so there is a direct line of sight to the street.

    Stuber also recommends having a safety closet where a flashlight, emergency phone numbers and a cellular phone can be found.

    If a student feels unsafe for any reason at all, BYU has some programs that can be used.

    There is the Safewalk program where a student is escorted home by a campus police officer. The officers will walk the student to their apartment if it is on campus, if they live off campus, they will be escorted until they are in a safe area.

    Emergency phone booth stalls are also available for use.

    Moreno said they can be used if someone is in an emergency, if they are lost or just have a question for the police.

    Moreno also said that if you are ever in a situation where you need to run, to just take the phone off the hook, keep running and an officer will go to the area by the phone booth.

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