The University Record, December 4, 2000

Credit card larcenies on the increase

While theft of laptop computers and electronic gadgets is a topic of discussion on campuses across the country, theft at the U-M often involves wallets, especially credit cards and M-Cards. Many stolen wallets have been left unattended in backpacks or gym bags at the libraries and recreation buildings. As the holidays near, credit card theft often increases.

“We can’t stress enough to University community members that they should always secure their personal belongings, especially wallets and purses,” says Bill Bess, director of the Department of Public Safety (DPS). “Leaving your backpack or purse unattended, even for just a minute, gives a thief plenty of time. Thieves may blend in with the crowd, so it is very difficult to identify them. Unlocked desk drawers and unattended offices are also inviting to thieves.”

Campus recreation buildings are prime targets as well. Despite large signs encouraging patrons to store their belongings in nearby lockers, many patrons to the gyms continue to leave their gym bags next to the basketball or racquetball courts. Lockers are located throughout the buildings, including in the main gym of the Central Campus Recreation Building (CCRB). The 25 cent charge to use the locker is returned to the patron upon departure and is the best deterrent to theft.

During September, October and November, 23 larcenies were reported at the CCRB, compared with 10 during the same time period last year. At the IM Building, seven larcenies were reported during the past three months, compared with 0 in 1999.

Additionally, University community members should always file reports with DPS when they discover any University or personal property missing. Even if the property owner isn’t sure if their belongings have been stolen or simply misplaced, a stolen/lost property report can assist during follow-up efforts with insurance companies and with increasing awareness of campus crime. Also, if you’ve observed suspicious behavior around backpacks or gym bags, call 911 from any campus phone, pick up a blue emergency phone, or call (734) 763-1131.