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NDSP warns of break burglaries

Joseph McMahon | Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Local landlords and the Notre Dame Security/Police (NDSP) are encouraging students to safeguard their valuables as they leave for winter break.

Burglaries and petty crimes on and off campus often increase just as breaks begin, NDSP said in an e-mail sent to the student body on Dec. 6.

“We often experience an increase in thefts just before breaks, especially from Library study areas and the dining halls,” the e-mail said. “Maintain extra vigilance on your laptops, book bags, purses, etc.”

For students who live off campus, NDSP is providing a Christmas storage option. Off-campus students can bring their valuables to the NDSP Investigation Section on the second floor of the Hammes Mowbray Hall on Wednesday or Thursday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. to 3:30.

Many landlords, meanwhile, have begun hiring their own security teams to patrol their properties and protect students’ valuables. Mark Kramer, who manages more than 150 properties, said there was an attempted break-in on his properties last year during Christmas break.

Kramer decided he needed to increase the security around his properties this year when tenants experienced car break-ins.

“We take every precaution that we possibly can, and that includes hiring a private security company,” Kramer said.

The Majestic Security Company patrols all of Kramer’s properties from the evening until the early morning. Kramer Properties sent tenants an e-mail encouraging them to contact local police departments to request daytime house patrols during winter break.

“Plus the maintenance staff and myself always keep an eye on it,” he said. After each student leaves for Christmas break, Kramer said either he or a member of his staff will go to the property to ensure that the doors and windows are locked and the alarm is activated.

“That itself probably prevents 99 percent of crime,” Kramer said.

Kramer is not the only landlord to use a private security force. Judy Logan, the property manager for Castle Point Apartments, regularly has three night watchmen on duty. In addition, a local police officer lives in each neighborhood section of the large complex.

“We don’t have a lot of crime,” Logan said. “But we don’t want to become vulnerable, so we take every precaution.”

Although both landlords have faith in their security systems, they agree that ultimately it is the students that can best protect themselves by taking simple precautions. For example, Kramer encourages students to place all their valuables, such as a television, in a bedroom and then deadbolt the door shut.

Logan said the best thing students can do is to avoid becoming vulnerable.

“We are living in the wild, wild West,” Logan said. “Everyone needs to lock their doors and make sure their balconies and patios are locked.”

For students who want to protect their bikes from theft and from the elements, NDSP is holding its Annual NDSP Winter Bike Storage Thursday and Sunday. Students can bring their bikes to the Notre Dame Stadium between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday and between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday.

Students who plan to leave their cars on campus during break are encouraged to park them in the D2 South Lot. The parking lot will be locked during winter break.

“The lot will receive special attention from NDSP patrols during the break,” the e-mail from NDSP said.