SGA works to make dorms safer

From fall 2006 to fall 2007, there was a spike in the number of incidents occurring in resident halls around campus.After going through crime logs on the Police Services Web site over the past few months, chair of the Student Action Committee, Jay Taylor, said that he realized there were several more burglary/larceny incidents than last year.By definition, burglary is the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft, and larceny is the unlawful taking, carrying, leading or riding away with property from the possession or constructive possession of another. In fall 2006, the number of incidents peaked around 20 in September, but this past fall the number steadily increased from around 12 in September to nearly 25 in November, according to the UVM Police Services crime log. “There has been a noticeable increase in incidents, but they also seem to be isolated…on Athletic Campus,” Taylor said. He added that the buildings experiencing the most crimes are Living/Learning, University Heights North and Harris/Millis. However, “There doesn’t seem to be any obvious reason for [this] concentration.” “Card access locks can only help so much. It’s really a cultural issue,” Taylor said. “Tailgating remains the single biggest weakness in residence hall security.” Kathy Cook, Senior Assistant Director for Athletic Campus, said that all of the thefts of which she is aware have occurred in rooms that were unlocked and unattended. “In all cases, the thefts occurred by people simply walking into rooms and walking away with items,” she said. UVM Officer Jason Bellavance believes that 98 percent of all burglaries within individual rooms were not forced entries, said Taylor. “Often times the individual perpetrating these crimes will go door to door and see which doors are unlocked. When they find one that is empty, they strike quickly, grabbing what is easy,” Taylor said. The items that are commonly taken from rooms include laptops, iPods, small televisions and anything easy to grab, he said. With the help of Officer Bellavance and resident di?rectors on Athletic Campus, Taylor said that he is working toward a plan for a blind audit in these buildings to check the security. “There…seems to be a perception that this sort of thing doesn’t happen here,” Taylor said.”Unfortunately, it’s time to accept these crimes as a part of our world and take necessary steps to prevent them.”