Theft increases, police recover stolen property


UPD has recovered several stolen bikes over the past month

During the month of November, the St. Edward’s University Police Department [UPD] recovered about $10,000 worth of property, according to Alice Gilroy, crime prevention officer at UPD.

“[Theft] has been happening in different places around campus. There’s always an uptick in the holiday season, as bad as that sounds,” Gilroy said.

One student recently observed a suspicious person walking near a dorm in the early morning. UPD detained the man and found he was riding a stolen bike. The man later admitted to cutting the locks of several other bikes. 

On Nov. 14, UPD found three cut bike locks and bikes hidden among some trees. Officers suspect these bikes were placed to be picked up later by thieves.

Gilroy attributes these recoveries to the joint efforts of students and UPD officers.

“That was just quick action on the part of the student, and the officers following their leads,” Gilroy said. “They didn’t just sit on it and think about it, they took direct action and called us.”

However, officers can not recover all stolen objects. In November, a student was walking through the parking lot between East Hall and Theresa Hall when a woman ran up behind her and stole the student’s bag off her shoulder.

“She was just walking around minding her own business, and this girl ran up behind her … and grabbed her purse with her laptop and stuff in it,” Gilroy said.

Since the victim was unable to read the license plate number on the car the thief used to get away, UPD was unable to retrieve the student’s bag. Gilroy said this kind of crime on campus is rare.

“I’ve worked [with UPD] four years, and I think that’s the first time we’ve had someone physically assaulted and robbed on campus,” Gilroy said.

Gilroy said preventative measures against theft can include anything from locking room doors to walking in groups at night.

“[The victim] was alone. If she’d been with somebody it probably wouldn’t have happened, but she was just walking by her dorm and felt perfectly safe,” Gilroy said.

Jana Soares, a resident assistant for LeMans Hall, said security awareness is important inside resident halls.

“As soon as you notice someone in the building that’s not a resident of the building, report it to your RA or RD,” Soares said. 

Gilroy said theft can still occur without people physically breaking into a building.

“Some of the thefts occur when people let somebody piggyback in on the front door … We’ve had people wake up with people in their room. We’ve had people walk in and see people in their room,” Gilroy said.

Soares said common sense can be the best tool to promote safety in the residence halls.

“Keep your doors locked, keep your keys with you, don’t leave your things out in the lobby,” Soares said.

Students can take further action to protect their possessions. Gilroy said engraving items and knowing serial numbers can help recover the item should theft occur.

“We can’t prove that it’s not their property unless we know what the stolen property number is. We have to let people go with stolen property sometimes because there’s no way to identify it,” Gilroy said.

Gilroy said the most effective defense against crime on campus is awareness and prompt action.

“The best thing we’ve got going for us … is the student and faculty and staff help, keeping their eyes open and calling us when they see suspicious stuff,” Gilroy said.

Students can call UPD to report suspicious activity  or a crime.

“We have such a nice campus,” Gilroy said. “It’s relatively safe because everybody works together to keep it that way.”