The night before a midterm was not a good time to learn that some high school teenagers had broken in and attempted to sneak off with a handful of electronics. Though, I suppose if someone’s willing to steal your computer, they don’t particularly care if it’s bad timing for you. I was either lucky or the burglars were stupid, because they didn’t get any of my jewelry (who really likes diamonds these days anyway, right?) and they dropped my computer on their way over the fence. I repeat, they were dumb burglars, but that doesn’t mean the event didn’t shake up my family. My dad is still paranoid to no end and shuts my bedroom window if I’m out of the room for too long.
Isla Vista residents be warned: you’re apparently no safer than I was. In fact, you may be in more danger. According to KEYT News, the residential burglary rate has more than doubled in Isla Vista this year. This news comes after the aggressive, and mildly annoying, “Lock Doors and Windows” campaign being encouraged by the Sheriff’s Department, IV Foot Patrol and Associated Students.
A crossed out image of a cat burglar surrounded by the slogan “”Stop Burglaries in IV- Lock Doors and Windows” has been plastered around IV these past couple of months and unless you’ve blocked the image from your memory, you know you’ve seen it somewhere. For a while, this campaign seemed to be working, reducing burglary over a 10-month period by 30 percent.
“We’ve used the same emblem every time, the same catch phrase,” said Steven Gonzalez from AS. “If we saturate [the community] with them, we figured everybody’s going to think, ‘hey you know what I should do is lock my doors and windows.’”
The community has certainly been saturated, but, if this doubling is any indicator, people only listen for so long. I can’t walk anywhere around IV without seeing those posters and yet, they don’t appear to be working anymore. While I appreciate the campaign and the efforts being put forth by those involved in it, I personally assumed back in freshman year that getting robbed was a part of the IV experience.
Two months into my first year, someone stole the tires off my bike. It was definitely not the most fun thing to wake up to, but I’ve never left my bike unlocked and unprotected again. Hundreds of bikes are stolen every year. The CSO has a recovery rate of only 30 percent and the likelihood of you getting your iPod back is even lower.
I’ve had things stolen from me. I’m sure every student here has. But what does it say about us all if even after we’ve heard the stories, listened to friends complain about how much people suck after being robbed, perhaps even experienced theft ourselves, and we still don’t bother locking our doors?
Yes, I expect my things to occasionally disappear. When I told my friends about my bike and then my iPod, they all just nodded their head, shrugged their shoulders, and told me their own stories. My particular favorite was one about a thief that broke into a car and stole an old, slightly broken iPod and tried to steal the CD player, but left the GPS.
Thieves must be on the lower end of the campus intelligence spectrum.
The point is, thieves are opportunistic and at some time some jerk is going to leap on the opportunity and steal something from you or your bedroom or your backpack. The idea is to not leave yourself open to it. A bunch of stickers and posters encouraging this idea aren’t going to stop burglars. They might encourage you to lock up your stuff, but at the end of the day, you have to personally decide your property means enough for you to bother caring for it.
Next time you leave the house for five minutes to go next door, ask if the ten seconds it takes to lock your door is worth losing your laptop or maybe your TV, your iPod, or stereo. If not, I highly recommend being a responsible adult, well, as much a responsible adult as you can be in IV, and locking up.
Your electronics will thank you for it.