Burglary up in res. halls, report says

String of burglaries in 1300 contributed to on-campus rise.

The annual Crime and Safety Report released by the university on Sept. 30 showed a jump in the number of burglaries on campus, including on-campus student housing, between 2011 and 2012.

Acting Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said the rise reflects multiple burglaries by a university employee at the 1300 residence hall during Summer 2012.

The incidents occurred while the Residence Hall was being used to host non-university affiliated conference guests that summer, Leone said. Guests were notified and the employee was fired.

“After the employee’s termination, the incidents stopped,” Leone said in an email.

Outside of the incidents at 1300, the university saw a slight increase in on-campus incidents, up from only four in 2011 to 11 in 2012. Of those eleven, Leone said, three resulted in arrests and one was exceptionally cleared. The remaining incidents were not solved and mostly involved theft of materials from classrooms.

Leone said a renewed focus on ID cards at building entrances has helped keep burglary rates low at on-campus facilities.

“We did a lot of tightening up with the IDs,” Leone said. “We’ve gotten better with our folks at the desks.” A new initiative to identify unlocked doors has also helped spread awareness, Leone said.

If CSS finds an open door at an on-campus facility they will close the door and leave a hang-tag on the handle, informing the resident that the door was unlocked, and reminding them to lock the door next time.

Off-campus incidents saw a smaller increase, with only two added reports- from 2011’s single incident to 2012’s three. Leone said the consistency in low off-campus burglary numbers can be attributed to efforts by CSS to spread awareness to off-campus student residents.

Leone said CSS stresses the importance of being a good neighbor as a way to stay secure off-campus, and also said CSS has focused on a new initiative to inform students of how to keep their belongings safe over extended breaks.

Despite the high numbers, Leone said CSS is on track to keep burglary numbers low for 2013, which he said highlights the impact of the incident with a 1300 staff member.

Comparing 2012 and 2013 through September, Leone said CSS has seen numbers return to normal.  “We are showing burglary reductions of  76.19 percent and 92.86 percent for on-campus and residence halls respectively.,” he said.  “This really came down to an employee abusing his position in gaining access to unattended rooms and taking guests’ property.  Once he was identified, swift action was taken.”

Ali Watkins can be reached at ali.watkins@temple.edu or on Twitter @AliMarieWatkins.

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