January has seen an increase in the number of thefts from buildings in and around Penn’s campus — but a decrease in more violent crimes like robbery.
There were 42 thefts from buildings in the first month of this year, a 68 percent increase from December 2012.
Of these, 13 were from medical facilities such as the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. According to Vice President for the Division of Public Safety Maureen Rush, “the thefts were not from patient rooms, but from offices.”
“We’re working with the directors of security from each of the hospitals,” Rush said. DPS has been focusing on “target-hardening” the hospitals — that is, securing them — against future thefts.
Five of the thefts were from academic buildings. “We are working with the schools,” Rush said, citing the School of Nursing, the Graduate School of Education and the Annenberg School of Public Policy as “model schools” that have experienced “basically zero” thefts.
Several thefts also occurred at two off-campus parties. “In some cases, the door is wide open and interlopers arrive and mix with the party,” Rush said. Multiple iPhones were taken at both parties.
In contrast to the uptick in building thefts, there was only one robbery this past month — and without a gun. The criminal was soon arrested. This marks a decrease from the three robberies at gun point that occurred at the end of 2012. “What used to be a huge problem for us 15 years ago — robbery — is not a problem,” Rush said.
There has, however, been an uptick in unattended package thefts within the DPS patrol zone, a trend that is occurring city-wide, according to Rush.
“Anytime we put bait out, we attract mice,” Rush said. “Anytime we put packages out, we attract bad guys into our neighborhood.”
She added that students who live off-campus can designate any one of the college house mail rooms as their permanent address for $4, and that those who don’t should still insist on signatures for their packages.
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