Stay Sharp: A Campus Safety Guide to Protecting Yourself and Your Belongings
Written by Isabella Cer
Students spend a considerable amount of time inside classrooms and college facilities, dedicating time to extracurricular academic activities. Cuyahoga Community College considers a full-time student to be someone with at least 12 hours of credit every semester. Additionally, the college promotes numerous cultural events, invites guest speakers, hosts festivities, and offers services such as tutoring centers and wellness facilities, all contributing to the time that Tri-C students spend on campus. Students feel comfortable and familiar with the campuses; as a result, they do not put much effort into constantly supervising their belongings like laptops, car keys, wallets, money, and other personal belongings. However, it is necessary to stay sharp even in safe spaces like Tri-C college campuses because personal protection and belongings is still necessary for a good college experience.
In August, incidents involving a wallet thief happened in the Health Careers and Technology building. The reports provided by the police show a serial crime occurred on the same day, 07/27/2023, involving the crime of Theft, which is a first-degree misdemeanor of stolen property valued at less than $1000, and the punishment is a six-month jail term and a $1000 fine according to the state of Ohio. In report number 23030030, the first victim was a Tri-C student who was taking massage classes at the Health Careers and Technology building; as a regular precede students were instructed to leave their belongings in a storage cube before the classes started at 5:30 p.m.; however, on the date the victim’s wallet that contained four credit cards, two debit cards, multiple gift cards, Ohio and the Tri-C identifications, and medical insurance was taken from a storage cube in room HCT 124 at that day. According to the first victim, the missing objects were only noticed the following day, 07/28/23, when it was reported to the campus law enforcement.
In addition, report 23030029 provided information about a second victim, who was also a student taking some classes at the Health Careers and Technology building and did the same procedure as the first victim, who left her belongings in a cube in room HCT 124 at that day, as well. The second victim had her brown leather wallet stolen, which contained an identification card and a credit and debit card; the crime report was made the following day. The names of the victims and other sensitive data were not reported for individuals’ protection.
After the incidents, the officer who oversaw the reports and investigation captured images of the suspect walking to the building in the areas where the wallets and other belongings were stolen from the victims. The suspect was acting like a student in the building where he had access to the locals; the police of the Highland Hills area were able to capture the suspect days after the incidents happened. Currently, the suspect has responded legally to the incidents in court. Moreover, incidents like that can happen to anyone, so it is vital to always safeguard, stay sharp, and pay attention to personal security and belongings protection.
Additionally, the law enforcement around the campus provided instruction booklets and posters to warn students around the campuses. The subjects of the signs contained instructions on how to protect their belongings and provided steps to avoid those situations. The first part is about constantly paying attention to their surroundings and carrying their belongings; it also emphasizes not leaving them alone in classrooms, tables, or other places. In addition, police warned about the importance of double-checking purses, backpacks, and items such as wallets, keys, money, documents, laptops, and other high-value things. In case of necessity, leave in the lock rooms provided by the Tri-C.
Another example the police provided was about always walking in groups whenever possible, especially during nighttime in areas like empty parking lots. Also, law enforcement emphasizes paying attention to people around the room and how they behave and using the campus resources, such as the police department, to report any suspicious activity or behavior. Report by going in person to the campus police department or via phone; the emergency phone number is (216) 987-4911, central dispatch is (216) 987-4325, and the Tri-C Alert is 1-866-989-2578. The campus police department is there to help anytime.
In conclusion, the recent incidents involving a serial wallet thief serve as a reminder that even in a familiar and secure environment, personal safety and the protection of the belongings should never be taken for granted. As an individual, it is necessary to stay sharp and vigilant, aware of personal safety and surroundings, and safeguard possessions.