Protect Your Property

Jasmine Brogden, Staff Writer~

Not long ago, you may have heard about a house vandalized or burglarized on campus. It
caused residential students to worry.

Some students expressed a fear of the same occurring to them. However, that is not
exactly the truth.

The rumored invasion was not an invasion at all. It was a result of fraternities taunting one another. Although it is not a true burglary, our Campus Safety and Security staff have to count it that way.

Campus Safety Director Bob Driskill expressed a disinterest in this type of “crime.” “It
happens every year. I don’t get involved in that too much. I let the judicial folks take care of that. Sororities or fraternities are always doing something to each other. They go in and capture the flag, so to speak.”

They’ve even had trophies taken from certain organizations in the past. Driskill believes
these to be childish acts.

However, items being stolen are not a new thing. Over holiday break, there were a few
“legit” burglaries. This resulted in extra police patrols. Building checks were also moderately instituted. Nothing major was taken, but items are still missing from their owners.

Driskill recounted a time when he encountered such actions. It was a car burglary, which
happens much more often in our community. A first-year’s car was robbed behind Montgomery Hall. He couldn’t recall whether he locked his car or not.

Change was stolen out of his cup holder. The thief left souvenirs. A Gatorade bottle was
left visible from the windshield of the car, on the dashboard. What looked to be a weapon, but what was really two remote controls taped together, made to look like a gun, was left in the seat of the car.

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Student parking lot behind Montgomery and Tate Halls. Photo by Savannah Martin. April 4, 2017.

Driskill encouraged students to be informed and read the safety announcements. He
begged students to be wary of where they place their items. Take them in your room, he
commanded. Put them in the trunk of your car, but don’t leave anything.

“I mean someone broke in to take change, something so minute. I wouldn’t think about
that being anything to be stolen. I wouldn’t break into a car for change if I was a thief. I’d be looking for something bigger, you know,” joked Driskill. “Make sure everything is locked down, windows too.”

He advises students to hide their most precious belongings. Driskill also says to scratch
or remove serial numbers off electronic devices, but record those numbers down elsewhere. That is so that, in case something did get taken, you could go to a pawn shop and check if anything is yours. Photograph them for extra protection.

The recent report of a suspicious person could have been a looter casing easy places to
steal from around campus. Driskill is not certain of that though. The person was male, and he was peeking through windows. After being seen by the complainant, he ran off.
He doesn’t believe living in housing on Southside could provide any increased danger, a
belief some may hold. He voiced that burglaries can occur anywhere. From the most affluent neighborhoods to the poorest of them, they can happen.

“Stay in tune to your safety. Report things that seem odd,” stressed Driskill.
The important thing about reporting is doing it immediately. Don’t wait days to tell
someone about suspicious actions. Tell the Physical Plant about lights being out or bushes that can obscure your view.  Those same bushes could hide a crime, and those lights could keep you from seeing an individual with ill intentions.

Driskill’s biggest fear on Southside is the party scene, not burglaries. He explains that it is
a way to unknowingly bring “undesirables” into our community. They could somewhat be here for fun yet also be here for no good.

“It worries me at night [break-ins]. Fires worry me at night. I don’t sleep well at night worrying about a fire. Our Southside community is as safe as anywhere else, but we all have to practice safety awareness and look after one another,” stated Driskill.

The way our Southside houses are laid out is unique, said Driskill. Each house knows the
safety rules, and he hopes they apply those to keep themselves and guests out of risk. Driskill stated that they do a pretty good job of that, but sometimes there are hiccups that no one expects. Those hiccups may require security or police intervention.

He highly recommended the LiveSafe app. If you haven’t downloaded the app, do so
sooner rather than later, he expressed.

To report a crime or suspect activity, call the Security Office’s emergency phone number,
(434) 544-5555, or visit the Information Desk on the first floor of Hall Campus Center.