DPS looks at thefts

A recent increase in the number of thefts on campus has DPS turning to an old tactic, prevention, to help squelch the crime.

“[The] definition of crime prevention is very simple,” said Mike Tussey, Administrative Commander with DPS. “It’s the anticipation, the recognition and the appraisal of a given crime risk and action that you or others initiate to remove or reduce that risk,”

“That’s all it is,” he said.

Using that definition, DPS is hoping to educate the NKU community about guarding against theft.

“People do not as a rule want to talk about crime prevention or accept the fact that it’s there for the using because they haven’t been a victim yet,” he said.

According to the crime/activity log posted on the DPS Web site, sixty-one thefts have been reported on campus from Sept. 1 through Nov. 21 this year.

Last year forty-six thefts were reported during the same months, including the entire month of November.

“What we’re having are crimes of opportunity,” said Tussey.

In September 2002, twenty-two thefts were reported. Of those twenty-two reports, twelve involved items taken from vehicles.

Tussey said some of these could have been prevented had the owners taken the time to lock their cars, roll up their windows and hide valuable items from plain sight.

The theft of unattended items is also a problem, said Tussey.

Book bags left on the floor, cell phones left in offices and projectors in empty classrooms are among the items reported stolen from campus this semester.

“Somebody has the audacity and the nerve to make [those crimes] happen,” said Tussey.

“What I’m trying to ask the community at large is to stop and think for a second. Think ‘I don’t want to be a victim today’,” he said. “It’s only going to take a few seconds to secure [items].”

DPS distributes various materials throughout the school year with tips on how to guard against theft. The recommendations range from keeping valuables out of plain sight to joining the Operation Identification program.

Under the program, valuable items are engraved with the owner’s social security number. If the items are stolen and then found later at, for example, a flea market or in a vehicle during a traffic stop, they can be traced back to the owner.

Valuable items should be catalogued in a list as well, with important information, including make and serial numbers, so police can track them more easily.

Tussey said DPS also encourages students, faculty and staff to report anything they think is suspicious.

‘It’s not an imposition to call 5500 (NKU’s public safety number)” to report a crime, said Tussey.