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Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

SF State students take precautions after burglaries at dorms

An SF State freshman exits Mary Park Residence Hall located on campus. To ensure the safety of its residents, students must have a school-issued ID card to enter the building. Photo by Sam Battles.

Leaving the door unlocked for just a few minutes during a quick errand is an easy thing to do. However, it’s not a smart decision.

Two burglaries occurred Aug. 29 in Building A of The Village at Centennial Square after residents left the doors of their apartments unlocked.

In one of the incidents, $7,000 worth of items was stolen, $1,620 in the other. The objects stolen were a laptop, cameras, iPads and iPhones.

The suspect in the burglaries at Building A has already been caught, but the Resident Assistants keep their eyes open for suspicious activity. The RAs help residents with adjusting to their new homes.

Just last year Alex Smith, a student at SF State, got his laptop stolen from Building A.

“I went to class and my roommate left my door unlocked. When I came back, my laptop was gone.”

According to Smith, the burglar was a student, who doesn’t go to SF State anymore. Smith lives in Daly City now, because he wanted to live off campus but also because of the burglary.

“I learned from this to be more on top of things and I shouldn’t trust anyone anymore,” he said.

Residents now must show their room keys to the RAs before they can enter the building. Before the burglaries, keys were only checked at the beginning of the semester. The RAs now plan on doing checkups throughout the year to prevent similar occurrences.

The Village consists of apartments that include a living room, a kitchen and two bedrooms. Bedroom doors can only be locked from the inside, but when students forget to lock the apartment door, anyone can walk straight in.

According to Russell Crispin, president of the Residence Hall Association, The Village is a friendly area, but residents should still be careful.

“Some residents leave their door open when they go over to a friend’s place,” he said.

He also emphasizes that residents should make sure the door closes behind them when they enter the building, and that they should call the front desk if they see any suspicious activity.

In 2011 there were 36 burglaries on campus with 43 the year before. Laptops, iPhones, other random electronics and bicycles are the items most frequently stolen.

Campus police state that suspects won’t stay in the room for longer than 60 seconds. In these 60 seconds, he or she will look in the usual places: under the bed, in dresser drawers or closets, on the floor, under the desk, in the back of file drawers of a desk or in the filing cabinet.

Deputy Chief Reggie Parson encourages residents to get a small, light, mobile personal lock box or safe and use it to stash valuables. They can take it with them when they leave for the weekend or vacation.

Ryan Otto Cassata, who lives in The Village, never leaves the door to his apartment unlocked.

“We don’t have parties in our dorm because people might take things. We can’t lock our individual room doors inside the apartment, so there is no other way,” Cassata said.

Jane Lively said she always locks the door of her apartment before she leaves and puts all her important items away in her desk.

“Also, my roommates are very trustworthy, so that helps,” Lively said.

Parson said that burglaries are often crimes of opportunity.

“They will jiggle and check doors until they locate one that’s unlocked and gain entry in that manner, especially in the residence halls where there is constant traffic.”

Suspects will observe an area for some time to see when the low and high traffic times are.

“Once they figure out the patterns, they strike,” Parson said.

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SF State students take precautions after burglaries at dorms