Safety Spotlight: Preventing Theft in Your Residence

By Stephen G. Shelow
Director, University Police

Last year on campus at Penn State, just like at colleges and universities around the nation, individuals were the victims of theft in their residence halls and apartments. Whether its jewelry, computer equipment or other personal valuables, experiencing this loss of property and invasion of your residence can be a distressing experience and a major inconvenience.

Students should remember that they can take certain measures to prevent theft from their residences. These include:

* Lock your doors. It seems simple enough, but remembering to lock residence hall, apartment or house doors can make a world of difference, as a potential thief will be quickly deterred and this may prevent an easy entry. Making sure that your doors remain locked when you are away or while you are sleeping is vital and effective as well.

* Do not allow unescorted guests into your residence hall room by holding the door for them to enter. All residence halls at University Park are controlled by electronic card access 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Residents are required to use their student identification card for access and guests must be accompanied by residents at all times including at the point of entry.

* Report suspicious or unusual behavior immediately to University Police by calling 863-1111.

Following these simple steps can help ensure that you and your personal possessions remain safe and make a potential thief's job much more difficult. This objective is very important to members of the University Police.

Steve Shelow, a law enforcement veteran of nearly twenty years, is director of
Penn State University Police and an expert on campus safety. He can be contacted by calling 863-1892 or he can be reached by email at

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Last Updated November 18, 2010