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Despite warnings, unlocked doors remain source of crime

For many Carleton students, the campus represents a safe haven where they can freely walk around at any hour of the day without any threat of getting violently confronted. On the fourth floor of the library, there are often laptops and ipods on unoccupied study tables as students leave their belongings as they flee to the lower levels to do some serious studying. This sense of a “Carleton bubble” is quite a quandary for the school administration in addition to the security services on campus.

One of the main issues is students leaving their doors unlocked in residence halls. While an electronic access control system at the entrance of residence halls provides a deterrent for would-be thieves and troublemakers not associated with the college, it does not provide foolproof security and non-Carleton people still can get into residence halls if they follow students in.

According to Wayne Eisenhuth, the Director of Security Services at Carleton , “It’s especially a problem at the beginning of terms and at the end of terms because everyone knows that students are more concerned about their studies.”

While Carleton’s security services try to encourage students to lock their doors and send out campus-wide e-mails when thefts happen such as those that recently occurred at non-college owned student houses, it is up to students to lock their own rooms. In the future, security cameras will most likely be installed in entryways into residence halls. However, currently, security services depend on students and staff to report campus trespassers, and this often occurs too late for action to be taken.

One of the major problems for security services is theft at off-campus college-owned houses in addition to non college-owned student housing. Recent thefts at Love and Crack Houses provide examples of how vulnerable off-campus houses can be. Off-campus houses, except for Parrish House, do not have access control systems and are often open for trespassers to enter. Coupled with the fact that students don’t lock their room doors, trespassers have easy access to rooms.

In addition to the thefts, unlocked doors also provide an opportunity for campus trespassers and inebriated students to enter student room uninvited. According to Eisenhuth, “We’ve had a series of incidents where people have been in students’ rooms and have gotten into the bed with them.”

“I’ve always been a fan of strongly encouraging [residents] to do so. I’ve kept my door locked since freshman year simply because I am from a city. I don’t necessarily follow the misconception that no one steals at Carleton,” said Brandon Walker ’09, a resident assistant in Watson Hall. “On my floor, if we get word of laptops being stolen or someone reporting a random person, I’m walking around the halls or sending a quick e-mail to keep your doors locked. But then again, that’s their choice, and it’s not my job to make them do anything. I can only encourage them.”

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