There is an unnerving feeling that runs through your body when you misplace your wallet, phone, keys or some other personal property. Your mind races as you retrace your steps and also plan for the worst: something was stolen.
Springfield College students and faculty are no strangers to this situation.
Over the summer, laptops and cell phones were stolen out of Babson Library. Since Sept. 1, three professors have had laptops stolen out of offices, one student had a laptop stolen from his room and six students had phones, wallets, keys and bags stolen during intramurals, according to Chief of Campus Police Judy Jackson.
Jackson said September and October are the months when most crimes occur on campus. Jackson has said that there has not been an increase of crimes this semester.
“Thankfully, no,” said Jackson concerning the thefts. “Normally, what we see at the beginning of the semester, especially the fall, are car breaks.”
“Luckily, we’ve only had two car [breaks] this year.”
Although Jackson said there does not seem to be a rise in thefts, those who have been affected this year understand that there is a need to be more responsible and aware when leaving personal property unguarded.
Frank Torre, professor of biology and chair of the chemistry/biology department, had a Springfield College Dell laptop stolen out of his office last Wednesday [Sept. 21], and it has not been recovered.
“I was somewhere else in the building when it happened and discovered it missing Monday morning,” said Torre.
Torre, who admitted to never locking his door when he is in his building, now keeps his door locked whenever he leaves his office, and understands the importance of being responsible for his own property.
“I think that’s the message that’s important here,” said Torre. “I used to be lackadaisical about locking my door and now I lock it whenever I leave.”
Torre said the state of the economy could also be a reason for the seemingly increased amount of stealing around campus.
Students have also had to learn the hard way about being more responsible when it comes to leaving their possessions unguarded. On Sept. 18, six students had items stolen while playing intramural flag football on the Irv Schmid Sports Complex.
Senior Jeff Gutmann was one of the six students who had items stolen. Although he admitted that leaving his phone out in the open was not a great idea, he certainly was not the first to leave his belongings in a pile while playing intramurals.
“I think it would be a good idea to have more security guards around campus,” said Gutmann. “You can’t keep an eye on your stuff all the time while you’re running around playing.”
Director of Intramurals Tom St. John has also taken steps to help avoid theft during intramurals.
“Though each individual is responsible for their personal items, due to the recent reports of theft during intramural activities, supervisors have been asking captains to store their bags/belongings in a more centralized area, such as the space between the playing fields,” said St. John.
Chief Jackson and the rest of the Springfield College Campus police are urging students to always remain aware of situations that could lead to stolen property.
“It’s all about opportunity,” said Jackson about thefts. “You may think it’s safe to leave your room unlocked or go to the bathroom in the library with your laptop out.
That’s the opportunity for someone to steal something. We urge students to always take precautions and never leave their stuff unattended.”
Corey Hanlon may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org