Boise State has the good fortune of being located in a city with a relatively low crime rate. Its students can walk the streets around campus freely, enjoying the comfort and safety that many college students around the United States cannot.
Theft does occur, however, which means students need to keep an eye on their belongings at all times.
According to Detective Jeff Dustin, a property crimes detective for the past ten years, students at Boise State are the number one demographic in the city targeted for “opportunist” thefts.
“The Boise State office is always receiving calls about stolen property,” Dustin said.
His main recommendation is that students, especially freshmen who are often the easiest targets, keep an eye on their own belongings at all times.
“There are people that come to campus with one thing on their mind,” Dustin said. “What can I steal?”
Dustin believes most often these individuals are mixed up in drugs and come to campus seeking easy opportunities to steal.
The most common items are bikes, unattended laptops, cellphones, backpacks or anything else that may contain valuables.
Dustin indicated that these people are searching for anything that will earn them enough cash for another fix. Just about anything with a serial number fits that description.
As scary as this picture seems, Dustin says not to worry.
“Don’t be paranoid; be prepared,” Dustin said. “Take that opportunity away from people.”
To do this, Dustin says people need to keep their heads on a swivel, keep track of their surroundings better and pay close attention to what’s happening around them.
Students who usually bike to campus can bring their bicycle seats inside whenever they go to class if they don’t have a high-quality bike lock, such as a u-lock.
“If one of our officers see a bike going down the street without a seat, that’s a pretty big red flag,” Dustin said.
He also recommends students sign up for an up-and-coming program called Trackmole to keep track of their electronics and other valuables.
This web-based program is free to use. It works by listing personal items as a series of serial numbers. Users can log any item, from electronics to bicycles. This can be especially helpful in cases in which an item is placed in a lost and found.
Although many items are found, many more will never be returned to their rightful owners. This is what Dustin calls a disconnect. Oftentimes, he doesn’t know who to contact because a recovered laptop has been wiped of its memory or a recovered bike hasn’t been registered.
“It’s frustrating for me as a detective to know I have [loctaed] stolen property and I can’t find the owner,” Dustin said.
For more information about Trackmole, go to trackmole.com