Petty theft is a very real problem at Concordia, and Darren Dumoulin wants to spread the word.
Raising awareness is the key to halting the waves of theft that have swept through the university in recent months, says Dumoulin, Operations Manager of Concordia Security.
“It’s happening at Tim Horton’s, Java U, even at the library,” said Dumoulin. “Students are leaving their stuff unattended and there’s people just waiting there to rip them off. Everything from purses to jackets to laptops have been disappearing.”
Perhaps the most appalling case was the theft of a blind student’s Braille laptop in mid-November. The computer, which was stolen from her car, was never recovered.
“Basically, you have to sit on your stuff,” said Dumoulin, recounting the story of another student, whose laptop was brazenly snatched away as it rested at his feet. “These guys don’t care if they get caught. This is how they make their living.”
Computers are not the thieves’ only target; wallets, specifically credit cards, are another hot commodity. In the case of wallet theft, Dumoulin said students should to act quickly. Credit card fraud is common, with unauthorized transactions often appearing within an hour after the theft. “This is not the type of crime that happens by chance…it’s planned,” said Dumoulin. “[The thieves] know exactly what they’re going to do once they have your credit cards. They know exactly where they’re going to go.”
In recent months, steps have been taken to improve campus security at Concordia
“We’ve increased our patrols in problems areas,” said Dumolin. “We send security in to do rounds more often, try to notice people who seem to be spending a bit too much time in there, that type of thing. It’s more of a prevention angle than an intervention angle.”
Even with the improvements, however, the thieves have yet to be deterred. “I don’t think it’s any better or any worse [than last year]-it just seems to come in waves,” said Dumolin.
The security team’s main objective now lies in raising awareness among students about the threat of theft and various methods of prevention. “It’s like chumming the water,” said Dumolin. “If you put all that stuff out there, someone’s going to come and bite. The less bait, the less chances of theft.”