Attack of the creepers

The University Circle (UC) area, of which Case Western Reserve University is a part, is often a hub of activity. Between people going to a symphony, getting a new heart or trying to get to class without being blown across the quad by a winter wind, this area is almost always packed with people.

Along with the upsides of being a busy area come some downsides: Areas with a large population can draw thieves because lots of people means lots of stuff to take. Busy, high traffic areas also provide cover or anonymity for potential thieves. A particular type of thief that sometimes visits the area is someone we at the CWRU Police Department classify as an office creeper. While not a dictionary term, this refers to people who enter buildings looking for unattended stuff to steal or unlocked offices they can enter to grab items like laptops, purses, wallets or cell phones, among other things. This is a common problem at many busy UC institutions like the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals of Cleveland, and one individual may hit several institutions in the course of a few days.

We know this happens here at CWRU because CWRU PD was recently able to arrest an office creeper caught in the act of stealing from an open office. If as a staff member or student you encounter a situation like this, making a call to 216-368-3333 as soon as possible, as giving your location and a suspect description is your best and safest course of action. We will take it from there.

As with many things, a little prevention can be useful as well. Locking offices and suites when you’re away or at least locking away valuables can be a big deterrent to what are often crimes of opportunity—so take away the opportunity. If you see someone in an area they probably shouldn’t be in or some type of suspicious activity, a quick call to CWRU PD or a simple “Can I help you?” can be a deterrent. The police can’t be everywhere, so we need your help to turn back the creepers. Let’s look out for each other.