Theft on campus decreases

By Faith Healy

DeKALB | Theft at NIU has gone down in the last few years.

According to Clery Act Data on the NIU website, theft offenses, including burglary, robbery and motor vehicle theft, have gone from 69 offenses in 2007 to 50 offenses in 2008 and 20 offenses in 2009.

With theft decreasing on campus, that does not mean the chance of finding a stolen item will increase. The chance of solving a theft once it happens is very low. NIU Police Lt. Curtis Young said the national average of finding a stolen item is about 12 percent.

When there is a theft, campus police will look into it, but the case usually becomes administratively closed.

Administratively closed means that all points of evidence have been exhausted, but the case is not forgotten, Young said. If there is a new lead on the case, it will be reopened.

“I feel like [theft] is unacceptable,” said Keith Stiggers, sophomore economics and political science major. “We are one community and should act as so. There is no excuse to steal from somebody else.”

One program started by the NIU Police to help students keep track of their electronics is the Electronic Device Registration. This program allows students to register any electronic device and helps the police to locate any stolen electronics more easily.

If an item is stolen, the police can enter in the information from registration into the Law Enforcement Agency Data (LEAD), a system in which data for stolen items can be seen by police officers around the country, creating a better chance of location.

“The intent of this program is to deter theft and to assist us in returning your items if they are lost and recovered by us,” stated the NIU Police on their website.

Students are unsure though on whether they should register or not.

“I don’t know much about [Electronic Device Registration] so I would probably not sign myself up for it,” said Brittany Prentice, freshman athletic training major.

While these methods can be use to help find stolen items, it is best to prevent the theft all together. Young said police focus more on preventing theft than recovering stolen items. He said educating students on how to prevent theft is the best way to stop it.

“A lot of thefts occurs when residents leave their doors open,” Young said. “It takes less than 10 seconds to go in there and grab a computer and leave.”

Young also recommends that students make sure all their items are attended to at all times, especially this time of year. During book buy back season, people find it appealing to steal textbooks and sell them for the cash, Young said.