Stop, thief

On the beat

There is a saying that there are lies, darn lies and statistics. While that may be true in election season, crime statistics are hopefully a bit more accurate, and they tell us that theft is the most common type of crime at Case Western Reserve University. So what can be done to prevent it?

Under Ohio law, there are several categories of theft, depending on the value of the items taken. Petty theft is the theft of anything under $1000 in value—although the theft might not seem petty to the owner. Anything between $1000 and $7500 is considered a felony theft, and anything over $7500 is grand theft—yes, as in grand theft auto. The penalties also go up with the value of the items taken. Petty theft is a misdemeanor; everything up from there is a felony.

At CWRU, the most common theft is the theft of unattended items. Electronic devices such as tablets, cell phones and backpacks that may contain electronics are the most common targets.

They are usually left unattended in classrooms, lounges, study rooms or eating areas. Items left around tracks, basketball courts or other athletic areas where the owner is likely to be distracted from keeping an eye on his or her stuff are also common targets. We have even had cases in the past where students resting in public areas have awoken to find the backpack they put down next to them before naptime has disappeared. CWRU police officers have heard, “I only left it for a minute…” one too many times.

This is not to say that the campus is like a shark tank, where a tablet left unattended may be swarmed in seconds. However, just like you can go swimming in shark infested waters and come out fine, every time you do, you are taking a risk, just like when you leave your valuables unattended. So keep an eye on your stuff, and let’s look out for each other.

On the Beat is a weekly safety column written by Sergeant Jeffrey Daberko and Officer Mark (The Crossing Guard) Chavis of CWRU PD. We welcome questions, suggestions and gripes/groans/moans/complaints about campus life at