Student housing theft trend continues

Story by Tyler Hart, Op/Ed Editor

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A trend of theft and burglary can be found in UW-Eau Claire student housing areas. There have recently been numerous reports of theft from autos and residential burglaries throughout the central district of Eau Claire, which encompasses the majority of student housing in the Water Street area.

Lieutenant Chad Hoyord of the Eau Claire Police Department said that crimes in the Eau Claire area can be reported on the phone or online. Each case reported in person is filed with the Eau Claire police, and each case reported online is filed separately and available to the public by visiting a site called crimemapping.com.

Hoyord analyzed both the police reports and the online reports in order to get an idea of how often the crimes are occurring.

“Based off of both HT and crime mapping, there was a total of six thefts from auto and 11 residential burglaries. That was from the time frame of August 25th to September 16th,” Hoyord said.

During the same time period in 2011, Hoyord reported 10 thefts from auto and six residential burglaries. In 2010, there were 10 thefts from auto and five residential burglaries.

“It appears as if the total activity level is comparable. It’s just that levels for burglary and theft from auto tend to flip back and forth,” Hoyord said.

Senior Adam Montee lost money and a set of golf clubs to theft in late July.

“I hadn’t really heard of it before when it happened, but since it happened I’ve heard a bunch of people’s cars have been broken into,” Montee said. Approximately $1000 worth of money and golf clubs were taken from his unlocked car.

According to Hoyor, failure to lock doors seems to be a theme in many instances of theft.

“As for the house (burglaries), the majority of them are left unlocked when these things happen,” Hoyor said. “Keep your stuff locked up.”

Many reports of theft and burglary include the disappearance of change and small items. (Junior?) Carissa Jobe referenced a man known as the Pillowcase Bandit who has been known to enter houses via windows or unlocked doors and fill a pillowcase with things like change, canned food, and DVDs.

“They steal a bunch of household items… It’s creepy,” Jobe said. The supposed bandit stays away from big-ticket items with serial numbers like televisions and computers, but will take money.

According to Hoyord, students should always make sure to lock the doors of their vehicles and their houses in order to keep their belongings safe. In addition, he suggested having landlords install motion lights, taking valuable belongings out of cars, and getting to know neighbors in order to watch over each other’s houses.

To report a crime, a person may either call the Eau Claire Police non-emergency number at (715) 839-4972 or file a self report on their website.

“If there’s something in progress, if you’ve got somebody breaking into your house at the time, you’ll want to call 911,” Hoyor said.

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