Jeepers Creepers

Sergeant Jeffrey Daberko and Officer Mark Chavis

There is a saying that crime never sleeps, and this applies here at Case Western Reserve University. Even though the vast majority of students were gone for spring break festivities at places around the globe, ranging from Mexico to their parent’s basement, we had several incidents of laptop theft here at CWRU. At least one of these incidents was probably committed by what we in law enforcement call an “office creeper.”

This highly scientific term refers to people who enter crowded, high-traffic buildings like hospitals, hotels or universities and look for things to steal, often focusing on items like laptops, cell phones, purses and other easily grabbed items. They will blend in with their often crowded surroundings and look for unattended or unwatched items they can pounce on. They will sometimes enter into offices or empty rooms to look around, and if challenged as to why they are in a particular space they will usually have a quick cover story about looking for a particular person or office.

There are a couple of things you can do to defend against office creepers. The first is to keep an eye on your stuff, and find a place to secure it when you can’t. Don’t leave items lying around unattended in public access areas. Don’t leave valuables in unlocked rooms, even if they are stored in a drawer or desk.

Also, be aware that the University Circle area is a prime habitat for creepers due to the large number of institutions here, and there are a number of people who make a living of sorts by stealing from the population here.

Office creepers can come in all shapes and sizes, but in general, if you think you have encountered someone who might be up to no good, don’t confront them directly—call the CWRU police department as soon as you can and we will come assist. If a person is lost, we will get them where they need to go; if not, we will see what happens next—remember that university property is private property and no one has a right to be here if they don’t have business here. So let’s look out for one another—and the creepers.

On the Beat is a weekly safety column written by Sergeant Jeffrey Daberko & Officer Mark (The Crossing Guard) Chavis of CWRU PD. Send feedback to this or other columns at policecolumn@case.edu.