Megan Rosa

By Megan Rosa, MATC public safety specialist

 April is Theft Prevention Month at MATC. The Public Safety Department will offer a series of campus events to raise awareness and help the college community prevent theft.  Stay tuned to MyMATC or MATC’s social media for more information.

Theft is the most common crime that occurs at many colleges and universities. It also is the most preventable. Students, instructors and staff members often carry valuable and portable items that criminals target. To better understand how to avoid becoming a victim, we should think of theft in terms of a “crime triangle” in which three elements are needed for a theft to occur:  motive, capability and opportunity.

Motive refers to the desire to commit a crime. While it is difficult to influence someone’s motives, you can make yourself a less attractive target by conducting yourself in a way that increases the likelihood of a thief being caught.  If the risk outweighs the reward, offenders are not likely to commit a theft.

Capability refers to the ability to commit a crime. By taking steps to make theft as difficult as possible, we can all reduce the ability for thieves commit crime on our campuses.

Opportunity is the opening a thief needs to obtain his/her objective. The majority of thefts are crimes of opportunity. Offenders generally aren’t hatching elaborate plans to steal your property.  It’s more likely someone saw your belongings unattended, decided he/she wanted something, weighed the risk of getting caught, and decided the risk was worth the reward of a “free cell phone” or other property.

When we reduce or eliminate any of these elements, we can greatly reduce the risk of theft on campus. The following are easy and effective steps to keep you and your belongings safe.

Keep belongings secured or out of sight

NEVER LEAVE YOUR VALUABLES UNATTENDED. Most thefts are the result of property left out in the open or in unsecured classrooms and offices.  If you’re not using an item, secure it in your backpack, locker, desk or cabinet. Or store valuables and “evidence of valuables” out of sight in your vehicle. Use your trunk or other compartments to store valuables, including docking stations or charging cords.

Use appropriate locking devices and security

When securing valuables in a locker, be sure to use a sturdy lock.  When you secure the lock, double check to ensure that it is properly positioned. Give it a firm tug to ensure it has properly latched before walking away.

This also applies to bicycles. MATC provides areas for individuals to secure their bicycles, however you need to provide an effective lock.  We suggest “U-locks,” as they are difficult and time consuming to breach.  We also recommend securing the bicycle using two security points, such as both the frame and a wheel.

When securing valuables in a desk or cabinet, consider also placing them out of sight.  In other words, don’t let your valuables be the first thing an offender sees if he/she does find a way into a locked room, desk or cabinet.

Be alert and aware of your surroundings

This is one of the easiest things you can do to prevent theft on campus. Keep your attention focused on your surroundings and don’t be distracted by your cell phone or other electronics. Offenders are much less likely to commit thefts if they know someone is watching.

Report all thefts or suspicious activity 

Reporting detailed information quickly and accurately can make the difference in an offender being deterred or caught. Contact MATC Public Safety as soon as possible if your property is stolen or if you observe suspicious activity or unprotected property. Public Safety can always be reached at 414-297-6588.

We can all contribute to a safe campus environment by following these simple steps. Public Safety has offices at all four campuses and looks forward to working with you to eliminate “crimes of opportunity” on all of our campuses.  We are available to demonstrate safety features or assist with risk assessments. Contact us at PublicSafety@matc.edu for more information.

 

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