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DPS sees decrease in larcenies at Bird Library

Compared to last fall, thefts have decreased at E.S. Bird Library.

Several valuables were stolen at Bird Library in previous semesters, including a piece of artwork in November last year and two laptops this February. So far this semester, there have been three reports of larceny inside Bird Library since Aug. 26, Hannah Warren, the Department of Public Safety’s public information and internal communications officer, said in an email.

“The larcenies have gone down this fall, we believe after a few arrests we made at the library in the spring semester,” said Vernon Thompson, DPS’s investigations and crime prevention commander.

The individual accused of stealing the laptops in February was arrested within minutes.

Thompson said the “three-pronged approach” of providing students the means to protect their belongings, educating students on security and increasing efforts to arrest and punish offenders have helped decrease the amount of larceny reports this semester.

Pamela McLaughlin, director of communications and external relations at Syracuse University Libraries, agreed that since the arrest in February, she believes the incidences have gone down due to the newly ID checks in the library that were implemented last semester, she said in an email.

Students at Bird Library can secure their belongings by renting locks for their computers, Tom House, the facilities and security coordinator at Syracuse University Libraries, said in an email. The locks are available at the Technology Assistance Desk on the first floor and at tables throughout the library with installed anchors where the cable locks may be used, he said. SU Libraries and DPS are currently looking for more tables to install additional anchors.

Though the library has offered the cable locks for several years, House said few students have used them, and students still tend to often leave their laptops unattended.

“I like to leave my stuff, I’ll admit. I’ve actually left the library while my stuff is there to get something from my car. I’ll just look for someone who looks trustworthy to watch it,” said Marisa DeSalvo, an undeclared sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

Like DeSalvo, Allen Osaheni, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, said he also depends on other students nearby for his laptop’s security.

“I try not to be away from my laptop too long, and make sure there is someone close by to watch it for me,” Osaheni said.

Osaheni said the library should raise awareness about the risk of thefts, especially of laptops, since he said he was unaware of the issue himself.

Thompson, the investigations and crime prevention commander, said DPS has been trying to educate students on how easily their laptops can be stolen, including new ways to inform them on campus.

“We are working with students from several classes in Newhouse who are creating 30-second videos to raise awareness about various issues of public and personal safety,” he said. Thompson elaborated that these videos may be seen in residence halls, in the library and on DPS’ website once they are completed.

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