UPD responds to high theft rates

Brandon Wise/Editor-in-chief

From the smallest cell phones to brand new iMacs, university thieves are getting their hands on just about anything.

Since 2011, theft has accounted for more than 60 percent of crimes at FIU, according to the school’s police data.

One of the victims of these crimes is Latoni Parris, a junior journalism major. In spring 2013, she had her Kindle Fire HD stolen. Parris said she accidentally left her jacket and Kindle in a Biscayne Bay Campus restroom.

“Five minutes later, I realized it wasn’t with me and I rushed back to find my jacket with no Kindle underneath it,” said Parris. “My heart sank into my stomach. I had a month’s worth of class notes, files and textbooks.”

Rick Torres, investigations commander and public information officer for the FIU Police Department, said it is common for him to see unattended items around Modesto Maidique Campus.

“Students leave things out everywhere, but those crimes are solvable,” said Police Chief Alex Casas.

There are 1,500 security cameras in total on six campuses, according to Casas. The cameras are monitored at MMC Police Station.

Alex Redman, sophomore engineering major, said that when he has to use the restroom, he does not ask people to watch his belongings.

“I wouldn’t ask a stranger to watch my laptop,” said Redman. “I don’t trust everybody.”

Torres said that the officers patrol areas where a lot of people gather to try to dissuade people from committing these crimes.

“People see us walking around and get nervous, but we’re just trying to gauge how everyone is doing and make sure everything is okay,” said Torres.

While 661 crimes occurred at MMC, UPD is also responsible for five other campuses.

The other satellite campuses are the Broward Pines Center, Wolfsonian Museum, FIU Downtown on Brickell and Miami Beach Urban Studios.

Zero crimes were reported at these satellites from 2009 to 2011, according to Clery Act statistics on the FIU Police Department website.

FIU police receives help from the police departments in those areas because of the size of those campuses, Casas said. Pembroke Pines, Miami and Miami Beach Police Departments patrol the locations within their jurisdictions.

Casas also said that FIU police officers assist the Miami Beach Police Department during their Memorial Day weekend festivities known as Urban Beach Week.

“We have Mutual Aid Agreements with those departments where we agree to assist each other,” said Casas.

In addition to that assistance being offered, Casas has also increased his workforce at the university. Casas said the department has hired about 20 officers since 2011.

“I’m able to deploy officers differently,” said Casas. “Right now, we have three officers primarily patrolling housing at MMC.”

Because of this increase in personnel, Yoanna Corro, sophomore psychology major, feels safer on campus, but is still nervous about leaving at night.

“I don’t really feel safe at night walking to the bus stop from campus,” Corro said. “I usually have my parents come pick me up.”

Police data:

  • 135 thefts from January 2012 to May 2012 at the Modesto A. Maidique Campus.

  • In the same amount of time in 2013, there were three less reported thefts.

  • 206 burglaries from 2009 to 2011 at MMC.

  • 39 burglaries in 2011.

  • Biscayne Bay Campus had 16 burglaries on its grounds from 2009-2011.

– brandon.wise@fiusm.com

1 Comment on "UPD responds to high theft rates"

  1. I was a victim of theft in Spring of 2011. My engagement ring was stolen from the PG-5 building. While there were 2 security cameras in the vicinity of where my e-ring was taken from, the police did not seem to do much to look into the matter and shortly after the incident happened my case was closed. Almost three years later, I STILL do not have my e-ring back, and I doubt I will ever see it again. For weeks I posted signs, sent mass emails, blasted social media but the thief was just too selfish to care that someone was looking for the ring and that it meant a lot. I even offered a reward. I’m upset and disappointed because what kind of human being are you take an engagement ring? But it goes to show the kind of people here at school and that you have to be very careful and aware of your surroundings.

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