At University Campus, Lockers an Invitation to Theft

U-WIRE-07/14/2006-U. Texas: Gregory Gym thefts rampant, U. Texas police say (C) 2006 Daily Texan Via U-WIRE

By Maggie Sharp, Daily Texan (U. Texas)

AUSTIN, Texas -- Despite the arrest of a University of Texas student who allegedly stole thousands of dollars in unattended property in Gregory Gym last May, after a brief respite summer reports of theft at the gym have escalated to as high as once a day, said University of Texas Police Department Officer Darrell Halstead Thursday.

According to police logs, everything from wallets, iPods and cell phones have been taken from unsecured lockers throughout the gym.

"Very rarely do you read a story where someone has their locker actually broken into," Halstead said. "Students make it very easy to commit a theft."

Both UTPD and Gregory Gym officials have security measures in place to monitor criminal activity. Plainclothes UTPD officers routinely patrol Gregory Gym for suspicious behavior. Closed-circuit television monitors in the locker rooms also deter criminals, said Jennifer Speer, assistant director for RecSports.

"We've also posted new signs and told our employees to remind students to lock up their stuff," Speer said.

Both Halstead and Speer said they do not believe the 25-cent charge for using a locker discourages students from securing their property.

"It doesn't matter if they give them away for free," Halstead said. "It's inconvenient. It's more convenient to have your stuff right there, so you can grab it and go."

Other locations on campus with high frequencies of crime are Jester Dormitory and the Perry-Castaneda Library, Halstead said. He added that the large population at both places contribute to the crime rate, but a major problem contributing to crimes on campus is that students are lulled into a false sense of security, he said.

"Students feel very secure in our buildings," Speer said. "They don't realize you aren't free from crime even though we try to provide the most secure environment."

Students, faculty and staff can sign up for Campus Watch for free at


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