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Scott Strasser

Campus security annual report highlights 50 per cent increase in theft

By Scott Strasser, February 7 2017 —

University of Calgary campus security released their 2016 annual report on Jan. 14, outlining crime at the U of C last year.

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Campus security officials say there are currently around 800 CCTV cameras at the U of C // Photo by Scott Strasser

Theft continues to be a problem at the U of C. According to the report, there were 307 reported incidents of theft under $5,000 — a 50 per cent increase from the 2015 annual report — and 10 motor vehicle thefts on campus in 2016. There were only two reports of stolen property being returned. 

There were also 12 incidents of breaking and entering, 145 incidents of trespassing, 39 assaults, 14 minor fires, two sexual assaults and two deaths reported on campus in 2016. 

Campus security manager of community operations Rick Gysen said the increase in theft is concerning but unsurprising. 

“Certainly it’s not uncommon with what’s happened in the economy and the economic downturn,” he said. “It’s consistent with the pattern of seeing certain crime stats increase, [particularly] petty theft.”

The increase in theft at the U of C comes despite a recent increase in closed circuit television surveillance. According to Gysen, there are currently around 800 surveillance cameras at the U of C — a vast increase from the 82 on campus in early 2015.

Gysen said it’s hard to know if the extra CCTV presence on campus is an effective theft deterrent.

“We’re into the first full year where our CCTV is being advertised with signage on the doors,” he said. “We really have no way to know if someone saw the sign, turned away and decided not to steal as opposed to actually committing a crime. I think there is a strong deterrent value to it. But it’s hard to say for sure.”

Gysen said the fires reported on campus were usually small enough to be put out with a fire extinguisher.

“Most of them are minor fires. We’re looking at a garbage can on fire, that type of thing,” he said. 

In terms of drug use, there were 38 cannabis-related incidents, one cocaine-related incident and one “other drug” related incident reported last year.

According to the report, campus security officers responded to 1,931 incidents in 2016. October was the busiest month for campus security, accounting for 216 reported incidents. The slowest month was July, with 117 reported incidents.

Thursday and Friday were the busiest days of the week, accounting for 341 and 342 incidents, respectively. The busiest time of day for campus security was 1:00 p.m.

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