UAPD: Early 2011 sees surge in thefts

Jennie Kushner

Almost 60 percent of the University of Alabama Police Department’s crime reports from Jan. 1 to the present have been theft related.

The majorities of the related incidents occurred during the almost month-long break and were reported upon students returning to campus.

Cathy Andreen, UA spokeswoman, said UAPD and the Tuscaloosa Police Department stepped up patrol while students were away for the holidays.

“UAPD and TPD provide extra patrols in the campus and fringe areas around campus during break,” she said.

Thirteen of the 22 reports filed relating to larceny occurred in the areas around campus.

The fringe area spans from 15th Street to Hackberry Lane to Queen City Avenue and to Jack Warner Parkway.

Crime is also happening the Student Recreation Center.

“There have been several reported thefts from the Rec Center, and UAPD and Security Resources have been providing extra patrols in the Rec Center,” Andreen said.

“Please check the Safer Living Guide for recommendations on keeping your property safe at the Rec Center and elsewhere on campus,” she said.

Students living in residence halls said they feel confident in the security, while those living in the fringe areas do not.

“I absolutely feel safe; I am in a suite and only my roommates and I have access, we always lock up so it doesn’t generally bother me,” said Sarah James, a sophomore majoring in interior design.

James, a resident of Martha Param Hall, said her residence hall has tighter security because it is an all-girls residence hall.

“We have a secured system, and they don’t generally let many people in,” she said. “I took my computer home over break, but my TV was left there and it was fine.”

Loretta Jones, a freshman majoring in accounting, lives in Freedman Hall and is a Tuscaloosa native.

“I did feel very comfortable leaving the dorm, but I live in Tuscaloosa, so I was able to come and check on it,” she said.

“When I did come back, the whole dorm was locked,” Jones said. “I trust the [resident adviser’s].”

However, Jones said she’s unhappy with UAPD’s performance.

“I think UAPD needs to do a better job,” she said. “I haven’t had a break in, but I know when things are reported they take it lightly. They need to take every case seriously.”

Matthew Chambless, a freshman majoring in music education, lives in Lakeside East and said the security could be tighter.

“Even though you have to have an ACT card to enter, it’s really easy to break in,” he said. “There is supposed to be a police officer at every dorm. There isn’t usually one at my dorm. It would be nice if I saw them around Lakeside East,” he said.

Some students living in the fringe areas said they feel uncomfortable leaving valuables for long periods of times.

“I have multiple Daniel Moore Alabama football paintings, and I always take them home with me when I leave for a long break,” said Chris Allen, a senior majoring in interior design. “I believe if 13 out of 22 reports have been break-ins, that’s over 50 percent, and that’s not a good stat for UAPD.

“If the problem is that widespread, then absolutely something should be done about this, there is no excuse for these things to be happening to UA students,” he said.

Blake Bollinger, a junior majoring in communications, said he feels he lives in a safe environment, but he still worries sometimes.

“I’m sure there comes a point and time where if [people] feel that you are gone for an extended period of time, they can find a way to break in.”