by Mervin Smith

The latest O.D.U. Crime Report shows a significant increase in larcenies on campus. Larceny – or theft – differs from robbery in that the victim is not present or threatened.

It is by far the most frequently reported crime on and around campus. Of 210 reported crimes since the start of 2013 semester 70 – or 33 percent  – were for larceny from a building or vehicle. Most were committed in the 1000 1200 1300 and 1400 blocks of 37th, 42nd, and 48th streets.

Thefts have also occurred at Scotland House, Rogers Hall, Whitehurst Hall, and Webb Center. Most frequently stolen are personal items like bicycles, cell phones, tables, or laptops.

While larcenies are particularly difficult to solve, in one case, police were successful. On November 8, 2013, laptop computers, tablets and money were stolen from Rogers Main Residence Hall and Goode Theater at about 5:18 pm. Some items were taken from a room that was supposed to be locked. An O.D.U. student, a resident of Rogers, was arrested three days later and with possession of stolen property and filing a false police report.

Because larcenies are difficult to trace or prosecute, working to prevent them is the best method of combating this type of crimes. As such, O.D.U. Police and administration have enacted a number of strategies, including:

Forums and presentations— The O.D.U. police force and public safety staff have held a number of forums, seminars, and presentations regarding prevention of theft (new students are also briefed by the police at orientation). The Student Government Association (SGA) and O.D.U. Housing & Residence Life have come up with slogan campaigns such as “Lock it up and Light it up”.

Patrol Aide Program – Patrol Aides are trained part-time student employees, report suspicious activity to the police dispatcher without becoming involved.

Bicycle registration— Provided by the city of Norfolk free of charge, 24 hours a day. Increases the chances of a stolen bicycle being recovered and returned.

Community Policing— Officers will be thoroughly inspecting residential and commercial properties to determine existing structural or environmental weaknesses and to recommend changes that will improve living conditions and thereby reduce crime.

Operation ID— Another free program to engrave identifying markings on valuable items such as laptops or bicycles, to help deter theft and identify recovered items.