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Break-ins Must be Addressed for Off-Campus Student Safety

A house on Lake St. was recently robbed at gunpoint, according to a Boston College Police Department bulletin released on Aug. 25. This most recent robbery is another in a significant number of recurring off-campus break-ins and thefts. There were 27 off-campus break-ins reported between Dec. 15 and March 17. Over the summer, there were several more break-ins at addresses such as 249 Foster St., 17 Gerald Rd., and 299 Foster St., although BPD was unable to confirm them. It is clear that students living off campus this year face the distinct possibility of a break-in.

The Heights reported on these break-ins last semester, including an editorial calling for an improved alert system. This continues to be a serious issue that threatens the safety of students and their possessions. Intruders often enter through unlocked doors or windows in order to steal laptops and other unprotected valuables. Mitigating these break-ins is key to maintaining a standard of safety for off-campus students. For the majority of off-campus students, this will be the first time they are living on their own outside of a dormitory, and the University should take responsibility to address the break-ins and provide multiple opportunities for education on safety measures.

An off-campus safety meeting held Aug. 31 dealt with alcohol consumption and off-campus parties, but didn’t extensively address the break-in issue. Although the importance of locking doors and windows was mentioned, it is necessary to further address the dangers that students encounter off campus. With the frequency of break-ins over the past year, students deserve a warning about what they will be facing off campus.

The problem of break-ins is unique to students living off campus, who are responsible for their own security in an entirely different way from on-campus students. Just as students receive the same alcohol talk every year, off-campus students should receive a warning and recommendations for practical measures for protecting belongings and securing a house or apartment. BPD recommends removing air-conditioning units from windows, as well as locking doors and windows.Bulletins, such as the one sent out to some students after the Lake St. robbery, should be frequently used to disseminate information about recent break-ins and further recommend security methods.

Workshops and other educational methods would help ensure that students who have no other choice but to live off campus understand the potential for break-ins and better realize the importance of security. Especially after the armed robbery at Lake Street, this is an issue of student safety that must be extensively addressed.

Featured Image by Graham Beck / Heights Archives

August 31, 2016