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Larceny continues as a problem on campus

By Charles R. Jankowski

Larceny is a major crime problem at MIT right now, according to MIT Campus Police Chief James Olivieri.

Olivieri blamed the victims for much of this. He attributed many of the losses to students who "conveniently leave their pocketbooks and wallets around."

"This lax situation is ever-present around the campus. We see it every day," he said.

According to the l984 annual report of the MIT Campus Police, losses due to stolen pocketbooks and wallets alone totalled over $32,000 in l984.

The Institute lost approximately $90,000 worth of property in l984. The police recovered $17,000 of this. Personal property losses totalled $67,000, of which only $400 was recovered.

In an effort to alleviate this situation, the Campus Police recently sent out an Institute-wide bulletin to all offices, "letting them know not to leave their personal property laying around or leave their doors unlocked," Olivieri said.

"We are also putting our own patrols to work, looking for laxities around campus," he added.

The larceny problem is complicated by the fact that MIT has an "open campus," according to the report. "Campus buildings are never really closed, because of the ongoing research which involves many members of the community around the clock," the report states.

"There are many evening classes, cultural programs, and other extra-curricular activities which are often open to the public," the report continues. "This aspect combined with the fact that MIT is an urban campus indicates how the hallways sometimes seem more like street extensions than university corridors."

"There has been a decline in other [criminal] activities," Olivieri continued. "We have seen a couple of incidents off-campus in the last couple of weeks, but other than that, there's not much going on."

Last year 22 crimes were reported against people on the MIT campus, compared to 25 in l983, and 23 in l982, according to the report.

The Campus Police's 39 patrol officers made 96 arrests and lodged l47 charges in 1984. "Trespassing continued in l984 to be the most frequently lodged charge against persons arrested on the MIT campus. The twenty-four hour open campus aspect of MIT is the major contributing factor to this problem," the report continues.

In addition to larceny and personal crimes, the number of suspicious persons stopped by the Campus Police also dropped last year. The Campus Police stopped 141 suspicious persons in l984, compared to 248 in l983 and 324 in l982.