By Madison Gummow
Crimes against property are on the rise on NAIT’s campus. A break-in at NAITSA, vending machines being vandalised and property theft are among some of the crimes that have taken place this semester.
Jenny Lau, the Communications Director of NAITSA, witnessed a break-in at the NAITSA office.
“I really was expecting just a regular day, I was about to leave my office with a co-worker and as we were leaving we saw a random guy in the kitchen. My co-worker gave him a look, like the who are you tilt, and then when they made eye contact he immediately ran out. So we kind of followed him and yelled, ‘Hey! Hey! Sir?’ but he kept running,” Lau said.
Lau and her co-worker tried to follow the man but when they turned the corner he seemed to be gone. That’s when Lau saw a shadow inside the storage room.
“I opened the door and yelled, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ and he came running out and left.
So he would have actually hid in our storage room if I didn’t look in there,” said Lau.
After the man had fled, Lau and her co-worker immediately called security.
“Security came pretty fast, they know how to deal with these things and they have cameras everywhere. They caught the guy’s face and everything but they didn’t catch him. We don’t know what he was doing there but he wasn’t there long enough because nothing was missing afterwards,” Lau said.
Lau mentioned that security wondered if the man had just been a lost student who got spooked by the confrontation and ran however, Lau knew that was not the case.
“I heard that a lot of thieves and potential thieves wear backpacks to look like students to blend in and I did notice the back pack the man was wearing was really grubby looking and it was empty looking so it was obvious he did not go to school here,” Lau said.
As for how the man got into the office, Lau believes it was likely that he was able to simply walk right in.
“I think the door was probably propped open because we just moved here so we constantly have workmen finishing up little jobs here and there, so probably a workman was going to grab tools or something and propped the door open and this guy just came in,” said Lau.
According to James Wheeler, Peace Officer Sergeant with NAIT Protective Services, leaving doors open or unlocked is a quick way to become the victim of property crime.
“People that are here are looking to commit crimes against property. What they’re looking for is a way to get in and get out quickly. They’re not necessarily looking to break-in to locked spaces or anything else. It’s very much a crime of opportunity to be able to take someone’s personal belongings,” said Wheeler.
The types of criminals that a college campus attracts are not methodical, life-time criminals, it’s people walking by who see an opportunity and take it.
“There is a big difference between coming by and finding a door open and having that opportunity to commit a crime against property verses coming up to a locked door and intentionally breaking through it,” Wheeler said.
Crimes of opportunity have been becoming more frequent as the weather warms and we enter Spring.
“We’ve seen an increase in crimes of opportunity, so that’s why it’s so important for staff and students to make sure that they’re securing their items and not leaving them unattended,” Wheeler said.
A crime taking place, on campus could look like a lot of different things however, it is crucial that you listen to your gut. If you see something that gives you an unsettling feeling, trust it.
“Often times people will decide that either they don’t want to become involved or they’ll convince themselves that everything is okay but if you have the belief that something suspicious is happening, it’s important for you to trust yourself. If you do feel that something is wrong, please reach out,” Wheeler said.
There is also no standard appearance for criminals.
“I think when I was younger, stranger dangers pictures always included a guy with a trench coat and a hat, when in reality is: that’s not what criminals look like,” Wheeler said.
NAIT Protective Services is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and can be reached for non-emergencies at 780 471 7477 or for issues that don’t require an immediate response email at firstname.lastname@example.org.