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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Students feel unsafe after break-ins and ‘peeping Tom’

By Joshua DeJong

 

A string of reports of burglaries and voyeurism have plagued the north neighborhoods of campus since the beginning of fall quarter.

Sophomore Cassie McHugh came home to find the screens of her house were torn off in an attempted break in about two weeks ago.

“That was, pretty obviously, someone who was trying to get in through a window,” McHugh said.

Sophomore Lydia Rolfes returned home Saturday night, Sept. 23, to find a man in her bedroom.

“It was really crazy because it took me a second to fully grasp the situation,” Rolfes said.

Rolfes’ laptop, wallet, jewelry, backpack and water bottle were stolen.

Signs warning residents of north campus neighborhoods about voyeurism.// Photo by Joshua DeJong

Audra Anderson, Rolfes’ roommate, said she came home about a minute after the burglar had left.

“She was just screaming, obviously really traumatized,” Anderson said. “Anna [another roommate] and I went and checked the other rooms in the house and then called the cops.”

The seven women that lived in the house were shaken, and those who had rooms on the bottom floor chose to spend the next few nights upstairs.

This wasn’t the only incident they had this summer.

Anderson was the first woman to move into the home and spent a week staying with friends after she caught a man standing outside their residence, watching her from the woods behind her house.

“As soon as I looked up, he stepped behind a tree,” Anderson said. “I didn’t know what to do, I was really terrified. ”

The major frustration the women said they have is with their landlords.

Anderson had sent an email Sept. 8 about the lack of blinds or locks on several windows.

The window the burglar entered through had no lock.

“We had told them many times before this had happened, in emails and in-person, that we were uncomfortable with not having locks on our windows on the bottom floor,” said junior Micah Litowitz, who lives with Rolfes and Anderson.

Officer Todd Osborn said there are a number of ways to keep yourself and your property safe, including checking locks and maintaining exterior lighting.

He said it is best to not wear headphones, walk with a friend when you can and use the campus escort service.

“The most beneficial thing a person can do for themselves is to maintain awareness of what is going on around them, and if something or someone makes you feel nervous or anxious, trust those feelings,” Osborn said. “Don’t put yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe because you think it is polite.”

Osborn said it always OK to call police if you need to. It is not a bother for you to call them, they want to help you, he said.

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