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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Public Safety warns of rising theft in area

Published: April 1, 2007
Section: News

The department of Public Safety sent out a theft alert e-mail to the Brandeis community on Monday, after receiving an update from the Waltham Police Department.

Recently there have been a series of thefts of GPS vehicle navigation units from motor vehicles, wrote Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan. The city of Waltham has advised us that they have experienced a number of recent thefts from parking lots inclusive of laptops left within vehicle interiors we would like to advise students that any portable equipment such as GPS units or laptops should be removed from vehicles that are left parked and unattended.

Callahan also mentioned that, outside of the thefts in occurring in several hotels and industrial lots in the Waltham area, there had been two thefts on the Brandeis campus. Both thefts occurred in J-Lot, near the Charles River Apartments.

These were isolated incidents, within last week or so one happened in the day time, and another one happened in the evening. said Callahan. There were two incidents where one students window was smashed, and there was another with a member of the adult education program, a woman who had her car up there, and she had her GPS unit in sight someone smashed her window and took the unit.

When asked about measures Public Safety were taking to combat the rise in theft, Callahan said we have different operatives, including the Waltham Police, going in and out of the various parking lots to see if we can find any of these folks involved. We have multiple patrols, [and] we have undercover officers who go into those lots.

Callahan added that because of the thefts having occurred in the Waltham area, I don't think it was a student or a community member it was someone who derives a living from stealing these devices or pawning them, or get a quick 100 to 200 bucks to turn these things around.

Students who live in the area said that they believed that Public Safety was taking adequate steps to enforce security near the Charles River Apartments.

Leah Boudreau '09, who will live at the Charles River Apartments, said that she felt “it's a risk you run anywhere. I don't think it's any less safe in that parking lot than in another one. I'm not going to walk around in J-Lot by myself, but for parking a car I think it's fine.”

I've never had an experience where I've felt uncomfortable, said Todd Berman 07. I occasionally see a police officerI saw one parked in J-Lot this week. They're very good about giving me tickets when I'm parked in the wrong areathey're very good at thatso I know theyre there. He added that I'm glad, though, I don't have any personal experience with [the thefts.]

Callahan urged students to not leave anything on the dashboard that is available in view don't leave a wallet or a credit card or a laptopanything that is valuable to you. Take things with you. He explained that while it wasn't a wave that hit here, [and] they were isolated incidentswe didn't want them to grow.