Burglars hit the University of Houston dorms: Students urged to get rentersinsurance
Creatures certainly were stirring at the University of Houston this winter break.
A number of students returned to UH's main campus to find their dorm rooms stripped of any large valuable items. So far, thieves are reported to have stolen two televisions, a refrigerator, a guitar and an Xbox.
The university's department of public safety suspects the burglaries occurred between 9 p.m. on Dec. 26 and 4 p.m. on Dec. 27, when an officer on a routine patrol discovered that several doors had been tampered.
The burglaries occurred in rooms at Taub and Settegast halls, which are located along the campus' quadrangle area. Both dormitories are secured 24 hours a day and require a security card for entry.
"Campus crimes are usually crimes of opportunity," UH police lieutenant Bret Collier said, "and we urge students to limit those opportunities as often as possible."
"People were opening up the vents on the doors," University of Houston sophomore Rosilyn Baah told KHOU-11 News. "They came inside, unlocked the door and stole stuff."
University officials mentioned to KHOU that campus police typically provide additional security on foot during the evenings . . . with the exception of winter break, that is.
An email notification was sent to all university residents in advance of the first day of spring classes on Tuesday, encouraging students to notify campus police about any missing belongings.
"Right now were still compiling a list of stolen items and trying to get any serial numbers from students, if they have them," UH police lieutenant Bret Collier told CultureMap.
"Anything potentially pawnable is run through a pawnshop database used by law enforcement. Serial numbers are key to finding stolen goods and we encourage students to keep a record of them during our crime prevention talks."
Collier noted that, as part of a longstanding campus-wide safety project, the university will be updating card access systems and increasing security cameras.
"Campus crimes are usually crimes of opportunity," he said, "and we urge students to limit those opportunities as often as possible."
The university released a general statement to the media Tuesday saying that students were "encouraged in their housing agreements to have renters or homeowners insurance" and were "reminded before the residence halls closed not to leave valuables in their rooms over the winter break."