Thieves take advantage of semester break

By Stewart Warren

NIU students should keep wary eyes out for thieves as they pack their bags to go home for semester break.

At the end of the semester, students often forget their responsibilities, and thieves take advantage of such carelessness, said University Police Lt. Ken Kaiser.

They drop their guard “mainly because everyone is getting ready to go home. They are walking around, tying up loose ends, saying goodbye, and they are less careful about locking their doors,” Kaiser said.

During finals week, thieves roam “the floors purposefully looking for an opportunity to walk into someone’s residence hall room and steal something they can turn into instant cash,” Kaiser said.

Unlocked residence hall rooms filled with the past semester’s text books are a bonanza to thieves who prey on students. “The No. 1 item to steal is a text book,” Kaiser said.

Although they might seem to have the advantage, there are ways to foil thieves, he said. Students shouldn’t run off for the holidays leaving their text books and other valuables unattended in their residence hall rooms.

“Take your expensive items home—clothes, jewelery, computers and stereos,” Kaiser said.

The “neighborhood watch” concept works as well on residence hall floors as it does on big city blocks, Kaiser said. “People should get together to watch each other’s property.”

If a theft occurs, students should call the UPs before anyone else, including residence hall assistants.

“If they call us first, we might be able to catch the person. They might still be in the dorms, hitting other rooms. We might be able to catch them red-handed,” Kaiser said.