Winter break won’t stop cops

Steve Bushong

Take a Western ghost town, add snow and modern buildings, and one will have Kent State during winter break.

Except for 90 students, all who call Kent State home up and vanish after finals week — like the campus well ran out of water.

But campus security and Kent State Police Services stay put, fully staffed, patrolling the near-vacant campus.

Officer Alice Ickes said police spend a lot of their time checking unoccupied and therefore vulnerable buildings. On a campus without witnesses, there is time for a person to “make entry and steal,” she said.

Small, portable electronics attract a thief’s attention, but no one else’s when he or she quietly walks away from a building, stolen goods in tow.

Student’s should be proactive in protecting their property from burglars, instead of relying on police and security.

“It’s a great idea to take expensive stuff home, whether you live on or off campus,” Ickes said.

Campus security manager Brian Hellwig said that in addition to taking valuables home, students should keep the items they leave behind off the floor, in case of a leak.

Detective Nancy Shefchuk said winter break, like summer, is typically quiet.

“It’s a feast or famine kind of thing,” she said. “When (crime) does come, it’s not good.”

She recalled last summer’s bookstore break-in. A shoulder bag and MP3 player valued at $100 were stolen by a 14-year-old, according to the Daily Kent Stater.

“Over the years, there have been illegal entries on and off campus,” Ickes said.

Ickes said in the mid-1980s, a university employee entered numerous residence hall rooms and stole items.

Today, however, such an occurrence is unlikely, Ickes said. The electronic locks record all who enter and exit the rooms.

But at apartments off campus, it’s a different story.

Ickes said she sees thefts there every winter.

“Because so many people are gone, thieves see an opportunity to get away with it,” she said.

In addition to police protection, campus buildings and residence halls are looked after by Hellwig and his staff of 10 security aides.

During the day, the aides walk through buildings. At night, the aides, who have voluntarily signed up to work during winter break, patrol the open residence halls.

The residence halls staying open during winter break are Engleman, Korb, Leebrick and Centennial Court C, a representative from Residence Services said.

“Winter break is very quiet for everyone,” Hellwig said.

Contact safety reporter Steve Bushong at [email protected].