Residents were still asleep in the early hours of the morning on Tuesday, Jan. 26 as a burglar broke into a Tuscany Village dorm room, stealing a laptop and other personal property.
“Waking up to find our doors wide open and window busted in was scary, to say the least. And realizing that this wasn’t just some prank or mistake, but that this was a robbery and noticing that major personal belongings had been stolen, was really hard,” said Natalie Mandeville, sophomore at and resident of the Tuscany Village.
Mandeville said the police were very helpful in handling the situation, but still feels a loss of trust and security in her environment.
According to the Campus Crime Report, since September 2015, about 49 percent of reported crime involved petty theft or burglary of some kind.
Mandeville and her suitemates were one of three on-campus thefts that occurred in the past month.
When asked why students might have been targeted, Campus Police Captain and Patrol Commander Dave Dougherty said theft occurs when property is left unattended, doors or windows are left open or unlocked.
They also warn against leaving valuable items-—like laptops or credit cards—in the open and not leaving out hidden keys, as thieves are able to find them.
“Since this happened, we have been extremely diligent about closing and locking all windows, as well as being very aware of who we bring into our home, whether it be old friends or new acquaintances,” said Mandeville, “We’ve brought all personal belongings of value into our rooms and leave nothing in the living room or kitchen anymore, for fear that it will happen again.”
Mandeville also said students should acknowledge their surroundings and pay special attention to details such as windows left cracked open, unfamiliar people lingering around the dorms and maintaining a knowledge of where your belongings are.
A level of cautious advice has also been extended by campus police to Sonoma State motorists.
Dougherty provided some general vehicle safety advice in light of recent car burglaries, telling students to approach their cars with keys in hand, take caution and look in the back seat before entering the car and lock doors after you have entered the vehicle.
Dougherty also reminds students to keep car doors locked, windows up and valuable items including mail out of sight. Potential thieves can read your address and follow you home.
“Personally, I would like to see a major increase in active prevention of crime from the campus police and the residential life office, either by the installation of a basic surveillance system, or the implementation of on-duty officers/ CSA’s doing a nightly tour through the residential buildings, or something of the sort,” said Mandeville.
Campus Police issued a timely bulletin in accordance to the Jeanne Cleary Act, which was signed into law in 1990 ensuring that college police report campus crime statistics in a timely manner.
According to the Cleary Act website, this act was signed into law after the rape and murder of Jeanne Cleary in her college campus in order to create more awareness of crimes on campuses throughout the nation.
“Yes, we were all home, asleep, when it happened. As terrifying as it is, knowing that someone was inside our dorm while we were all peacefully asleep,” Mandeville said. “I’m grateful that we did not have to encounter the burglar face-to-face, because I fear that could have ended much more disastrously than this.”
Dougherty reminds students to dial 911 to report a crime that is in-progress and call Police Services 707-664-4444 to request an officer to respond or to obtain information for a report.