Residence hall break-ins raise safety concerns

In the wake of two Main Apartment Complex break-ins within a week, concerns have been raised for the safety of students living in the residence halls. The first break-in took place Sept. 24, and the second took place seven days later on Oct. 1.
Around 2 a.m. Oct. 1, junior Derek Heck heard strange noises outside of his door.

Upon investigating the noise, Heck said he saw a man climbing into the window of his apartment’s living room while another man with a backpack stood outside. Heck startled the intruder by running toward him, causing the intruder to leave the window and run away.

Heck said he followed the intruder and chased both men on foot before they got away. After returning to his apartment, Heck woke up his roommates and immediately called the University Police Department, where they filed an incident report and were told to make sure their windows and doors were locked.

Heck’s roommate Devon Johnson, an environment and society junior, said he was asleep at the time of the incident and was only made aware of what happened the following day.

“If it had been a little longer, they would have been in our place,” Johnson said. “That’s the scariest thing to think about.”

Johnson said within two days of the incident, MAC resident coordinator Maria Bonifacio and UPD detective Teresa Denette called two emergency mandatory meetings for all MAC residents. The meetings, Oct. 2 and 3, discussed the incident and measures student residents should take to ensure their safety.

Denette told students that September through November are the most common months for break-ins to occur, because there are fewer daylight hours and little snow to reflect light.

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So far this semester, a total of two break-ins have been reported in the Residence Halls.

During the meeting, Denette and Bonifacio proposed installing more streetlights and motion-sensing lights to increase visibility and eliminate blind spots along pathways for students in the residence halls. They also discussed possibly providing dowels to further secure the windows and having students with broken window locks place work orders.

UPD and Residence Life advise that all students living in the residence halls make sure that all of their windows and doors are properly locked and move their valuable items out of plain sight.

Denette said UPD is available to provide escorts for all students on campus that may feel unsafe walking alone or in dark areas.

To report an incident on campus, please contact UPD at 907-786-1120, or call 911 for emergencies.