Thefts lead to campus safety alerts

Emily Koenig

The Lawrence campus is generally considered extremely safe. Students leave their doors unlocked, leave their coats and backpacks in the lobbies of Downer and Lucy’s and might even leave their laptops sitting in the library while they make a quick Grill run.
With that in mind, it is difficult not to notice the signs posted recently in the dorms, signs providing a safety alert and cautioning students against leaving their valuables unattended. The safety of the Lawrence campus has recently been called into question by a string of thefts at Lucinda’s dining hall and the Buchanan-Kiewit Recreation Center.
Thefts at Lucinda’s have been reported and measures have been taken to address the issue, such as posting signs and providing coat racks inside the dining hall. More information about the Lucinda’s thefts is unavailable at this time.
Minor thefts have been taking place at the Rec for years — small items such as bathing suits or bags, and never with any sort of repeating pattern. Unfortunately, recently valuables have been systematically removed from unguarded bags and clothing in the locker rooms.
It began with the theft of two swimmers’ wallets. The wallets were later recovered on College Avenue with identification still inside. Within a few days, however, more thefts followed. At least two additional wallets as well as credit cards and money were taken from clothing pockets, lockers and bags.
While lockers are available for use, many students do not care to use them, particularly in the presumed safety of the Lawrence environment. Employees at the Rec say that now many swimmers are taking their belongings with them onto the pool deck rather than using the lockers.
The Rec’s security policy primarily consists of the familiar monitors that check student IDs as the students enter. However, considering the presence of YMCA swimmers with their parents as well as the occasional student being let in without an ID, some students are questioning the effectiveness of this measure.
Privacy reasons naturally prevent the Rec from placing surveillance cameras in the locker rooms, but the directors are currently working on finding new security measures.
Perhaps the Recreation Center’s employee Rebecca Hamlyn best sums up the implications of the incidents in saying, “What is pleasant, but perhaps risky, about Lawrence is the high level of trust among students. It is sad that someone decided to take advantage of this trust.

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