One of the things NAIT Protective Services (NPS) performs on campus includes reducing instances of theft on campus. The Nugget spoke to NAIT Peace Officer Sam Darlington for tips to minimize chances of having personal belongings stolen, and information on what actions should be taken when students suspect they’ve been a victim of theft.
“NAIT is very safe. It is a safe campus, but we want to reduce the risk or opportunity for theft,” Darlington said.
Do not leave items unattended
Unattended items are at a much greater opportunity of being stolen because they require little to no effort on the part of the person committing the theft. Compared to locker break-ins for example, no tools are needed, no sound is made and items are easily taken in a matter of seconds. Valuable items such as cell phones, wallets, backpacks or jackets left out in the open are especially targeted. Although it may be tempting to leave personal belongings alone for just a couple minutes, Officer Darlington strongly advises against it.
“It is inconvenient to take belongings to the washroom with you or put it in your locker again, but it is far more inconvenient to replace your laptop or your textbooks if they have been stolen,” Darlington stated.
Don’t leave anything of value in vehicles
For students who drive to campus, valuable items should not be left inside vehicles if possible. However, for instances where students have no choice, items should at least be stored out of sight such as inside trunks or under seats. Darlington explained that even small items such as loose change could be an invitation for a break-in, as theft is often committed in desperation.
“You kind of have to think about a desperate person and what they might see as valuable in your car.”
Reporting a stolen item
If a student finds themself in a situation where their belongings have been stolen, the best action to take is to report it to NPS. A visit to their office in Building D (Services Building) is the preferred method, as they will be able to fill out a statement right away. However, students can also report the theft to NPS on the NAIT Alert App, as well as by phone at 780-471-7477. Officer Darlington also advises reporting the theft to the Edmonton Police. If the police apprehend someone with the stolen item in the process of their duties, they will be able to return it to the owner.
When a report is made, NPS will ask for when the incident occurred, where the item was found missing, how the item was lost, and what was taken.
In the case that a student observes theft or a vehicle break-in occurring on campus, they are also encouraged to advise NPS of the situation. This will alert officers of suspicious behaviour which will be investigated. Officers may even be able to apprehend the person if they are still in the area.
NPS lost and found/recovering property
Any item brought to NPS is catalogued and stored for a minimum of 30 days in their lost and found. If the item is not claimed, it will either be destroyed or donated. However, for items with identification such as wallets, NPS will try to contact the owner to return the item. At pick-up, NPS will ask the student to sign a form for documentation purposes.
Being a victim of theft is a negative experience which can also be a hassle to resolve. To prevent all the stress and inconvenience that comes with it, keep personal belongings and valuables close and out of sight.
Officer Darlington states “If it’s important to you, secure it.”