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Building Break-Ins, Property Losses Rile CCR Employees

By Don Lacey
Staff Reporter

A rash of break-ins in Buildings 18, 66, E17, and E18 resulted in the large number of crimes recorded on campus for the period of Sept. 16 through Sept. 23, according to Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin.

The total dollar value of stolen possessions jumped to $24,000 from almost $10,000 in the week before.

Last Wednesday personal belongings, laboratory equipment, and building keys were stolen from the Center for Cancer Research, located in E17. The theft of the keys required changing E17's locks, said CCR Building Manager Ward DeHarow.

Outweighing the loss of property and the nuisance of having to change locks was the general feeling of a loss of security at CCR, which employs about 200 people, DeHarow said.

"In a case like this, everybody feels violated, like they can't turn around and leave things unattended for even a second," DeHarow said, adding that nothing stolen from CCR was irreplaceable.

In Building 18, a thief broke in and stole a computer and electronic equipment last Wednesday.

Glavin said that last week's increase in breaking and entering crimes was probably only an aberration, and that break-ins involving forced entry are rare around MIT.

Nonetheless, Campus Police has responded to the crimes by increasing the number of police patrols in the affected areas and by putting up more crime prevention notices, Glavin said.

Many campus crimes preventable

Generally, students interviewed are not very concerned about campus crimes and perceive that many crimes are preventable.

Cary K. Lai '98 said that although he realizes that thefts occur frequently at MIT, it does not particularly worry him. "It strikes me that if you remember to take a few simple precautions, you aren't going to have things stolen from you," Lai said.

Echoing that sentiment, Sarah M. Shore '98 said that most crimes on campus are easily avoidable. "It's only when people do something stupid like leaving their bikes unlocked that you run into problems," she said.

For the most part, Glavin agrees with students' perceptions about thefts on campus, adding that the vast majority occur because the victim simply left a possession unattended and out in the open. "That sort of thing is very frustrating for us to deal with," she said.

MIT could cut down on much of the crime if students took more care of their belongings, Glavin said.

Glavin said that the Campus Police takes reports of suspicious activity seriously, and encouraged the reporting of any unusual behavior. "If someone calls, we'll go check it out," she said. "We have a responsibility and a duty to do so, and people shouldn't be worried about the possibility of phoning us about something which turns out to be harmless. We'd much rather have that than what happened last week."