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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Public Safety considers security measures following castle thefts

Published: October 8, 2010
Section: News

The university is considering adding alarm devices on fire escape doors and installing card access for the Castle, following a series of five thefts early last Sunday morning, Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan said.

The initiative follows three cases of electronics thefts and one theft of cash from Castle dorm rooms between 3 and 8 a.m. on Sunday.

“The common denominator is that students leave their doors unlocked,” Callahan said.

Callahan said that one student saw the perpetrator in her doorway but because it was dark, she was not able to see him very clearly.

He said the suspect was a 5’10” male who weighed 140 pounds and had on a “dark knit cap and a gray hooded sweatshirt.”

Public Safety is still investigating the incidents, but Callahan noted that aside from the main issue of students leaving doors to their bedrooms unlocked, many students go outside on the fire escapes and keep the doors, which are supposed to be locked at all times except for during a fire, propped open.

Senior Director of Community Living Jeremy Leiferman said that this problem happens every year and often students go outside on the fire escapes to smoke.

“It kind of jeopardizes the security of the building’s occupants if they leave these doors open,” Callahan said.

Callahan explained that his department also listened to suggestions from Student Union President Daniel Acheampong ’11, including the possibility of installing card access to outside doors.

Leiferman said students, who are often just trying to be friendly, need not to let others into buildings.

“Everyone that should be in the building has a key to get in,” he said.

Public Safety coordinated a response by holding meetings with community advisors and community development coordinators from the department of Community Living as well as The Office of Student Life.

Advisory posters were put up in the Castle after the incidents.

Benjamin Crown ’13, a resident in the Castle said that he woke up Sunday morning to find $1,600 worth of property stolen, including his laptop, play station console and video games.

The suspect also stole his roommate’s blackberry and video games.

Crown said that under a home owner’s insurance policy, like he has, thefts are typically covered, but insurance does not cover an initial amount under the policy.

“You never expect that someone’s going to [come] into your room while you’re sleeping,” Crown said.

“We’re anxiously following up on this,” Callahan said.