Thieves and Gorby show up at U of C

Thefts are on the rise, according to Campus Security manager Lanny Fritz. There were 19 reports of theft in September resulting in over $34,000 in losses.

"Traditionally, theft would be at one of its higher points [right now]," said Fritz. "Because we’ve got a campus full of people, most of our thefts are stolen backpacks with textbooks and calculators, laptops and those kinds of things."

Students who leave their valuables unattended are most at risk.

"If students leave their materials behind, it should be with a trusted friend or somebody next to them," said Fritz. "Or, take [valuables] with [you] or secure them some place for the time being."

A trombone worth $1,618 was stolen last month from a Craigie Hall locker and recovered by city police off-campus.

Students were not the only victims of recent theft.

"We’ve had three very expensive projectors stolen [from COM/Media] since September at a total value of approximately $35,000," said Fritz. "The suspect, whose name was turned over to city police, was arrested on outstanding warrants for theft from B.C."

The safety of students during the construction of the MacEwan Hall expansion is a new concern for Campus Security.

"We would appeal to the common sense and good judgment for all students to take that extra time and plan their schedules to walk around certain buildings," said Fritz. "We’ve had a few cases already where places have been blocked off and students have been ducking through branches and trees."

Fritz cites the potential for personal injury in construction areas and notes that new warning signs will soon be in place. However, he does not currently anticipate the need for extra security during construction.

The need for security was heightened during former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s recent visit to the U of C.

"The biggest highlight for October was the Gorbachev visit," said Fritz. "A VIP person of that stature of course required a lot of security concerns."
Gorbachev, who has two personal bodyguards, was not originally afforded any special security considerations.

"As a result of Campus Security initiating meetings with the RCMP and Calgary Police Services, [our] organizations collectively provided a VIP security service for Mr. Gorbachev while he was on campus," said Fritz.
Campus Security was busy on other parts of campus as well. Fires broke out in Varsity Courts and the Engineering Students’ Society office in September. An individual received second-degree burns in the ESS fire and was hospitalized. Lastly, there was one act of indecent exposure, and car prowlings and accidents totaling more than $12,000 in losses.

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