Tech thefts increase on campus

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By SHILPA BISTA
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After a high number of technology thefts this semester, individuals across campus are expressing concern over the security of personal and campus property.

According to the Director of Safety and Security, Jeff Schneider, about seven laptops have been stolen from students within the past two weeks. Schneider feels that a security camera system on campus would make a difference.

“We stress people to not leave their valuables unattended,” Schneider said. “However, some thefts can be prevented, and some can’t.  But if we have cameras, we’ll have a chance of getting the stuff back.”

A flat-screen television is still missing from the campus center. Schneider said anyone could’ve committed this theft, including students.  He noted some missing chairs and a couch as well.

“There are no capable guardians during late-night study sessions at the campus center, so it’s easy to take things out,” Schneider said.

On Tuesday Schneider presented a proposal to install security cameras on campus to ASG.  Schneider decided to suggest that the administration put security cameras in areas like campus center entrances and parking lots, according to ASG’s meeting record. He feels the campus may be a little behind with its policy on security cameras, because, according to Schneider, most schools in the area already have security cameras. The senate approved, 52-4, but some students are against installing security cameras. 

“My big thing is that if our overarching theme is the statement of community and we trust one another to do the right thing, then I feel like the cameras undermine that” said Kyle Pineda,’13.

Campus Security has been investigating the theft of a student’s laptop that was reported in February. The student said he was with friends at his fraternity house and left his laptop in a room. Upon returning, he found his laptop missing and noted a student, who did not belong to the fraternity lingering.

“I’m surprised how many thefts are committed on this campus, but what surprises me more is the school hasn’t invested in security cameras yet,” he said. “Some thefts seem to be done for fun, just to mess with people, because my laptop was just an old Dell. It’s probably worth only $250 now, so why would anyone want that?”

Campus Security has recovered four recent “tech-thefts” and one turned out to be a contract employee, according to Schneider.

He said it could be anyone so there is no clear pattern. Schneider agreed that privacy must be respected; however, he believes security cameras in certain areas, like parking lots, will do no harm.

Last semester a student’s backpack with a laptop inside was stolen. Schneider said a Meadville resident, not a student, committed the crime and that the thief was apprehended, but security was unable to recover the student’s property.

“[The culprits are] obviously not all students,” Schneider said. “There was also a case where a student from the Pittsburgh campus came to visit and took a television from one of our students’ houses. Then it becomes a matter of knowing who you’re letting in.”

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