Thefts have risen sharply on campus in the past year as the pandemic has receded
The rise in burglaries at BU over the past academic year, also a trend elsewhere as campuses nationally repopulated after COVID-19 closures, has led the Boston University Police Department ( BUPD) to warn staff and students about protecting their property.
Between September 1, 2021 and July 10, 2022, 328 thefts were reported on campus, a 77 percent increase from the 2020-2021 academic year, in which there were 185 thefts, BUPD statistics show. . This year’s thefts are 58 percent more than the 208 thefts in 2019-2020. However, the percentages exaggerate the increase.
“Looking back, beyond the academic years that have been affected by COVID-19, the current number doesn’t appear to be much of an increase,” says Robert Molloy, deputy director of the BUPD. The current year’s thefts exceed those of each of the two years before the pandemic by no more than 7 percent, he says.
“Boston University is not the only school facing this trend. Everyone in the area is dealing with shoplifting,” says Molloy. “The most common items reported stolen are bicycles and scooters, clothing, computers, and money,” taken by scammers. “The majority of reported thefts are unattended items that are stolen from public spaces and/or common areas.”
The BUPD offers these tips to protect yourself from break-ins and thieves:
- Do not confront a thief yourself.
- If you notice damage to the door, especially around the door handle, do not enter the room or apartment. Go to a safe place and call the BUPD.
- Lock your doors and any windows that have access to a fire escape.
- Close all common doors in the building.
- Get to know your neighbors so you can spot an unknown intruder.
- Program your cell phone with the BUPD emergency number (617-353-2121), available 24/7. If you are off campus and need help, please call 911. Send BUPD anonymously by texting “BU” to 847411.
- Beware of people trying to piggyback you when you enter a building.
- Lock your bike properly. Cable locks are easily penetrated with a pair of bolt cutters. U-locks have proven to be the best security for bicycles. If you need help, stop by the BUPD headquarters on Harry Agganis Way and an officer will show you the best way to secure your bike.
- Register valuables. If you report something stolen, having it pre-registered could help you get it back or get some insurance reimbursement. The BUPD offers free laptop registration and bicycle registration is available through Parking and Transportation Services. Registering your property allows them to put it on a national criminal database. If ownership is ever recovered, they can take it back.