Protect your burrow

So next week is Groundhog Day, my favorite rodent-based holiday. The gist of the day is to observe what the groundhog does when it emerges from its burrow to determine how far away winter’s end is. (Some scientists speculate that groundhogs emerge every year at the same time not to make weather predictions but to search for mates … but that’s another story.)

While we don’t have burrows at Case Western Reserve University, we do have the next best thing: residence halls. And a good deal of time and money has been invested in trying to make our residence halls as secure as possible. But as with many systems it is only as good as its human element, which leads me to the issue of tailgating.

Tailgating refers to the act of someone sliding into an access-controlled building behind someone who has just swiped in without swiping in themselves, usually because they can’t since they don’t belong there. The motives of a tailgater can vary from trying to deliver takeout to looking for stuff to steal. In any event, university buildings, especially access-controlled ones like residence halls, are private property, so tailgating is a form of trespass.

Hopefully by this point in the school year, you can at least recognize everyone who is supposed to be in your residence hall (I didn’t say like them, just recognize them), so you may recognize someone who looks out of place or is possibly engaged in some type of suspicious activity. If this is the case please give the CWRU Police Department a call at 216-368-3333 so we can locate the subject in question and find out what they are up to. Confronting people yourself is rarely a good idea, and remember that if you bring a guest into a residence hall you are responsible for their conduct. Reporting lost CWRU IDs as soon as possible is also greatly appreciated.

Crime inside residence halls is generally pretty low, but in several past instances a tailgater has been the source of problems once inside. So let’s protect our burrows. Happy Groundhog Day, and let’s look out for each other.

On the Beat is a weekly safety column written by Sergeant Jeffrey Daberko of CWRU PD. He welcomes questions, suggestions and gripes/groans/moans/complaints about campus life at