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Public Safety seeks to raise theft awareness

They're called "crimes of opportunity," and for the most part they're the reason theft on the MUSC campus is up more than 200 percent over this time last year.

In August alone, 56 thefts totaling $10,276 in personal and state property, have been reported to Public Safety. “While some of the property reported stolen is later recovered by investigators or even the victims themselves, that is more the exception than the rule,” said Cpl. Michael Anderson of the Public Safety Crime Prevention Office.

Anderson said that a large proportion of the thefts can be classified as “crimes of opportunity,” crimes that occur because the victim has made it easy for the thief to steal. “Any items of value left unattended and unsecured are potential targets for theft,” Anderson said.

Favorite places for a thief to look for valuables are the top middle drawer where many people keep money, and the lower right-hand drawer where purses can usually be found,” Anderson said.

Many of these thefts can be prevented by implementing a few personal security measures. The MUSC Department of Public Safety recommends the following:

  • Keep purses, wallets and other valuable items with you at all times or locked in a drawer or closet. Don't leave a purse in an unlocked desk drawer or a wallet in a jacket that's left on a chair or a coat rack.
  • If you are responsible for office keys, don't leave them on your desk or in your top drawers where they could be easily taken.
  • Never leave change or cash on a desk or in an unlocked drawer. Instead, place any cash in an envelope and put it in a drawer that you can lock.
  • If you bring any personal items to work, such as a coffee pot, a radio, or a calculator, make sure they are engraved with your name or initials and an identification number. Stolen property that is engraved with a driver's license number (SCDL 123456789) has a much better chance of being recovered than property with no identifying marks. Engravers are available for loan from Public Safety free of charge.
  • If you notice any suspicious persons in or around your work area, contact Public Safety immediately.

A conscious effort to follow these suggestions will greatly reduce a person's chances of becoming a victim of a theft. Any questions or comments can be directed to Anderson (792-2261) at the MUSC Department of Public Safety Crime Prevention Office.

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