During exam week, when students take their book bags — often containing thousands of dollars worth of electronics and other valuables — all over campus, police are warning students to take extra caution against the increased number of thefts.
“At the end of the semester, we get a heightened level of larcenies,” said Department of Public Safety Police Capt. Joe Piersante.
During recent exam periods, police have seen sharp increases in thefts.
Last December, about 88 thefts occurred in libraries and other locations on campus, and 92 occurred last April.
In comparison, this September there were 60 reported larcenies on campus.
Piersante added that many credit card thefts occur around the holidays.
DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown said there are several reasons why thefts increase on campus during finals. One, she said, is that there are more students studying at locations that are accessible to the public, which become available for longer hours during finals.
She added that students tend to be “more careless with their belongings, as they are focused on their studying.”
“Thefts appear to increase during finals because this is the time thieves easily can sell books without being obvious,” Brown added.
“The bottom line,” Brown said, “don’t make theft easy. Protect your belongings at all times.”
Piersante said a main reason for theft on campus is that many University buildings are open to the public.
“Many of the suspects who are made known to DPS blend in very well with the college crowd,” Brown said.
She said suspects tend to wear similar clothing — jeans in libraries and sweat suits in the recreation building — and are of similar age to students at the University.
The University has taken precautions by putting up signs at most libraries and other locations in order to alert students about potential thefts.
Medhini Srinivasan, a Business School junior, said when she is at the Shapiro Undergraduate Library she feels more prone than in other buildings to watch her belongings and not leave them alone.
The undergraduate library is one of the places where signs are posted telling students not to leave their belongings unattended. “The signs imply that (thefts) have happened before,” Srinivasan said.
Srinivasan added that she thinks students tend to worry more about thefts if they or someone they know has been a victim.
Other students said they had not noticed the University’s attempts to curb thefts in campus libraries and other locations.
“I think I am just na