Keep an eye on belongings, warns college security

Leaving items unattended or with strangers leading cause of theft on campus

George Brown College's St. James campus. Photo: courtesy of George Brown College

George Brown College’s St. James campus. Photo: courtesy of George Brown College

If you aren’t careful, you might find your cell phone, laptop or other property stolen this year at George Brown College (GBC).

According to Stacey Andrews, manager of public safety and security at GBC, the biggest problem with thefts at George Brown are people leaving their belongings unattended.

“Students who are coming from high school are used to a more closed environment. We are really open to the public and I don’t think people realize that sometimes,” said Andrews.

Between September 2014 and April 2015, there were 126 reports of theft and two reports of “break and enter” according to documents obtained by The Dialog through a Freedom of Information request.

“Individuals are trusting other individuals more than they probably should,” said Andrews. “They’ll leave items on a desk in the library and go to the washroom and when they come back their stuff is gone. Or they’ll ask someone next to them to watch their items (and) they don’t have a clue who the person is.”

Andrews said that she has even seen students plug in their phones at charging stations and then walk away.

“It’s basically people leaving their things and not realizing that you really should be keeping an eye on your personal property or (have) someone you know keep an eye on your personal property.”

Locker thefts haven’t been a problem recently, but two years ago there was a rash of them, said Andrews. Sometimes security will find lockers unlocked or even without any lock. In those cases, security guards will close the lock and leave a note reminding students to secure their belongings.

“If they don’t secure their lockers they may not have anything in there afterwards,” cautioned Andrews.

An information pamphlet published by security recommends that students use a lock with anti-shim technology, like the Master Lock 1500iD, which is being sold in the GBC bookstore.

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Keep an eye on belongings, warns college security