Students can control a lot about their lives: who they make friends with, what they do on the weekends and what classes they take next semester. And often they make the right decisions. But it looks like it’s what’s out of students’ control, like some of the people who don’t come onto campus for educational reasons, that may pose a bigger challenge.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen and heard about at least four non-students coming to Rider, breaking into rooms or following students into their residence halls. Add this to the memory of Tony Kadyhrob’s attempt to lure a student into his car last year and receiving two updates from The College of New Jersey about suspicious characters at its campus just a month ago, and it’s understandable why more students are looking over their shoulders this year.
On Tuesday night, an unknown male was moving among suites and apartments in West Village and stealing items from common rooms. Public Safety and Lawrence Township Police are working together to learn the man’s identity. At the time of one burglary, two of the residents of a four-person apartment were out while the other two were in different rooms and did not hear the man come in. The fact that he was able to enter the unlocked apartment and only be spotted as he left is frightening. To enter West Village, or any other residence hall, he had to either be a student or come in after another student swiped his or her ID at the outside door. If it was the latter, there may be some things we can do to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
For starters, know who is entering your residence hall with you. If it’s a friend, classmate or neighbor, then, of course, you know who the person is and most likely where he or she will be. But if there is someone you’ve never seen before waiting to come in the building and doesn’t appear to be looking for a friend, then be cautious. If it happens more than once, let your roommate or a resident advisor know about it so others can keep an eye out, too.
Also, lock the door behind you, especially if you are in a standard dorm or apartment that will be empty for any period of time. It’s much easier to just walk into your dorm room or apartment without having to dig in your bag for the door key. But, especially now, just take a quick second to lock the door. If friends are coming over, they can knock when they get to your room.
Public Safety already does a lot to keep this campus safe. But what about getting rid of O Lot by the south entrance? The small number of spots in the parking lot isn’t really necessary, and it just provides extra spaces for people to get on to campus undetected. Half of the spots are reserved for Public Safety anyway, so eliminating 10 or 15 spots won’t hurt.
At the south entrance, Public Safety begins to ID anyone coming on campus after 8 p.m. Rider should look into moving that time up. It’s starting to get dark outside a little earlier each day and having someone in the kiosk even an hour sooner would help.
Also, everyone, especially Public Safety, needs to be alert for suspicious individuals. The staff should reassess its patrol schedules and staffing levels to make sure that the entire campus is covered. It will take everyone to make sure that we are secure at all times of the day.
It will just take a little extra vigilance in order to make sure people you don’t know don’t get into your building, or worse, your room. Keep alert and know what’s going on in the space around you. You don’t want the next theft you read about to have happened to you.
This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Angelique Lee.