By Kelly Clark

Thefts at Eastern are noticeably rising each year. Statistics collected from 2002 to 2004 show that criminal activity is becoming more and more of an issue on campus.In 2002, 180 thefts and burglaries occurred at Eastern. But in 2003, the number increased to 183 and then, in 2004, jumped to 195.

Thefts vary at Eastern. Occasionally, a forced entry is used in order to get an item; however, the majority of thefts are “thefts of opportunity,” said EKU Police Chief Mark Welker.

Residence halls, business offices, lounges, vehicles and the library are all very common places for items to be stolen.

It’s possible to avoid giving thieves the opportunity to swipe students’ and faculty’s belongings by doing simple tasks such as locking doors and keeping a close eye on expensive items.

It’s hard to predict when crime will rise or fall, Welker said. When everyone is here, the number will go up. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the students returning are the thieves; they could in fact be the targets for external sources.

What’s the motive behind stealing? It depends on the person. There’s no absolute answer for why people are stealing.

In most cases people steal for “personal gain and profit,” Welker said.

There’s no way to determine who will steal what from where.

“We don’t see any extreme pattern one way or another,” Welker said.

For those who have been victimized by this crime, don’t lose hope in reclaiming items. Belongings recovered as a result of a successful investigation or prosecution may be returned.

“If it is not a serious felony, we are more than happy to document it and return it,” Welker said.

The EKU Police Department strongly suggests reporting any items that have been misplaced or stolen. It’s important to have evidence of property being stolen. If there are no eyewitnesses or physical evidence, there’s frequently nowhere to start, Welker said.

Based on dollar value, the biggest thing stolen from Eastern was a vehicle. This is a very rare occurrence. But nowadays it doesn’t take a whole lot to accumulate a large sum of money by stealing smaller items.

“With technology being what it is today, it’s pretty easy to rack up thousands of dollars through items such as laptops, iPods and videogame systems,” Welker said.

It’s extremely easy to hide these kinds of objects inside jackets, backpacks and even inside a pocket.

EKU Police does its best to prevent theft but encourages everyone to be more aware. Students and faculty must be responsible for protecting their possessions.

“If you’re not careful, you could have expensive or sentimental items stolen,” said Welker. “There’s no absolute profile to tell us what a criminal looks like, so people should take the extra effort to secure their belongings.”

For a list of theft prevention tips or to report a theft or misplaced item, go to www.police.eku.edu or call EKU Police at 622-2821.

Reach Kelly at
kelly_clark45@eku.edu