BYU apartments alluring to thieves

Provo may be one of the most friendly cities in the country, but that doesn’t mean it is free from crime.

Lt. Matthew Siufanua of the Provo City Police said police are in and around the BYU area everyday because of reports of theft, burglary and other crimes.  According to Provo Police, the most common crime reported in Provo is burglary. In February 2012 alone, there were 50 reported cases of burglary.Tyler Heap, a junior history major at BYU, was robbed as a freshman living in Helaman Halls. He said someone broke into the dorms on a Sunday while residents were at church.

“About 10 of us got robbed that day,” Heap said.

When Heap called police to report the crime, he said he was disappointed by the response.

“They came over and took down a report of what happened and what was taken,” Heap said. “After we talked to them, I never heard from the police again.”

Heap said police encouraged the residents to lock their doors in the future. Since the experience, he has been more careful about locking up.”

Students are awful when it comes to leaving that door open,” Siufanua said.

Siufanua described one tactic often used by burglars to take advantage of the transient student population.

“Typically what happens is the burglar will come in and yell out a name,” he explained. “They’ll say, ‘Hey, Suzy!’ and a resident will come out and tell the burglar Suzy doesn’t live at that apartment, so the burglar will leave.”

Siufanua said the burglar will continue in a similar pattern until he finds an apartment that has been left unlocked with no resident inside.

Kyle Lyons, a BYU junior studying exercise science, was surprised when he walked into his apartment at the Isles one night at the beginning of the fall semester and saw two men rummaging through his things.

“It was my first night there, and I didn’t know the other guys living there so I thought it was someone who was rooming with me,” he said. Lyons said he greeted the robbers and apologized for his stuff that was all over the apartment.

Lyons said at that point, one of the men took off running by way of glass door. Lyons began to chase after the man, caught up to him and grabbed him by the sweatshirt.

“I just lectured him a little bit, and then I let him go,” Lyons said. The man had nothing in his hands except a laptop charger, so Lyons thought there had been nothing stolen.

“We got back (to the apartment), and I was still puzzled. I looked for the laptop and it was gone,” Lyons said. A number of other things had also been stolen from the apartment.

Lyons called the police but explained, “Calling the police was kind of pointless because what can they do? There are not enough resources to find the guy who got away.”

Siufanua explained that police are often unable to locate the burglar unless they catch a burglar at the scene of the crime or selling stolen items at a pawn shop.

Siufanua said the best way to prevent crime is to keep doors locked and to write down the serial numbers of valuable items such as phones and laptops.

“Become a hard target,” Siufanua said. “They look for the easy targets. Lock your car doors. Lock your apartment doors. Write down the serial numbers of valuables. The harder we try, the harder we are making it for them.”

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