Written by Leah Abraham and Julia Howell
Several students’ backpacks were reported stolen Sept. 23 from Bauman auditorium and Brougher Hall. One was reported stolen at 10:20 a.m., and the other four at 2:15 p.m. The suspect(s) are unknown at this time.
Becky Weitzman, a sophomore art major, was in an afternoon class in Brougher Hall when she and several classmates left the room to look at slides in another room. When they returned, four of their backpacks were missing.
“We were only out of the room for probably 15 to 20 minutes and only just a couple of feet down the hall, which is crazy,” said Weitzman. “I didn’t hear anything suspicious.”
Weitzman’s bag contained her iPhone, car keys, house key, and wallet with credit card, debit card, and driver’s license. Security Services was immediately contacted. Weitzman spent the rest of the afternoon talking with Newberg Police and writing up a statement.
Four officers from Security Services patrolled the campus for several hours after the thefts were reported.
“Many areas, including the canyon trails, on campus and off have been searched by security and law enforcement personnel,” said director of Security Services Edward Gierok.
Some of the stolen items were found off campus by Security Services, Newberg-Dundee Police Department and community members. Gierok is hopeful that the remaining items will show up.
The credit/debit cards and phones can also be tracked if used, which would direct authorities to the location of the suspect.
Security Services sent out an email the following day to staff, faculty and students. Below is an excerpt from the email:
“In compliance with the ‘Timely Notice’ provisions of the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1998 the George Fox Security Department is giving notice of an act of Burglary reported to have occurred in two locations on campus…”
Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, previously known as the Campus Act, is a federal law that requires any educational institution (that participates in federal student financial aid program) to disclose information regarding crimes occurring on or around campus.
According to Clery Center for Security on Campus, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing violence, substance abuse and other crimes on higher educational institutions, The Clery Act requires institutions to publish:
Annual Security Report (ASR);
Maintain a public crime and disclose statistics for incidents that occur on or near campus;
Issue timely warnings about crimes that pose a serious or ongoing threat to students and employees;
Devise an emergency responses; notification and testing policy;
Compile and report fire data to the federal government and publish fire safety report;
Enact policies and procedures to handle reports of missing students.
According to Security Services, timely notices, in compliance to the Clery Act, have been sent to the community following any significant incident. According to Gierok, previous notices did not specify that the report was in compliance to the Clery Act.
“It is not mandated that the notice state ‘Clery Act,’” said Gierok. “But in an effort to bring attention to the situation, I wrote this timely notice in a different format. Timely notices can be posted via mass email, FoxAlert, or posted in locations where they can be seen publicly like residence hall bulletin boards, etc.”
Gierok also says that Security Services chose to report this crime using Student Life email because “this medium was faster than the Daily Bruin, which would have taken another day to post. Also, the Daily Bruin is not read by everyone, but usually a mass email gets read the same day.”
Weitzman said she was glad for the assistance of Security Services, but she felt that more could have been done after the incident was reported.
“Campus security eventually sent out an email notifying people of danger,” said Weitzman, “but I personally think more should have been done right away so people would have been aware of what was going on.”
Gierok believes the most important action depends on students’ anticipatory measures to protect personal belongings.
“If you need to leave an area make sure that someone you trust is willing to keep an eye on your things while you step away,” said Gierok. “Also, if you are leaving a classroom as a group, either bring your items or ask your professor to lock the room. It is unfortunate that things like this can happen here, but we can take steps to help prevent crime.”