Dorm burglary victim speaks out

Brian De Los Santos

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CORRECTION: Howard stated police arrived 40 minutes after they were called. The Department of Police Services through their public information office say officers arrived within 9 1/2 minutes of the call being placed to university police.

Katryna Howard thought she would be able to enjoy her 7 o’clock TV show when she arrived at her dorm on March 17, however what she found was a chair in front of her door impeding her entry.

She fought against the chair and when she gained entry she found her TV missing, her bedroom ransacked and several other items stolen from her room. Some of her roommates’ belongings, including a laptop computer were stolen as well.

Suspect(s) gained entry into Howard’s first floor dorm room in building 12 by prying her window open. The suspect(s) stole over $2,000 worth of electronics, including two laptops, a camera, a TV and a cell phone, she said. The burglar(s) ransacked through the victims’ drawers and desks.

Howard is one of the several victims that have experienced dorm burglaries at the University Park Apartments. Three other dormitory burglaries were reported to police this month.

According to Howard, a witness saw the suspect lurking around the area and looking into windows, but quickly reunited with others when he noticed that he had been spotted.

Howard said she understood that dorm burglaries are an ongoing issue and made sure to lock her apartment’s windows and doors whenever she left her room.

“They were still able to get through,” said the freshman. “Even when I took all of the precautions housing and police say to do.”

The crime happened in a matter of about 20 minutes, after Howard arrived from class to drop off her belongings and stepping out to grab a bite at Geronimo’s. When she saw what had happened, she immediately called CSUN police.

“We want to reassure students that the police department is trying their best to protect students,” said Christina Villalobos, CSUN police public information officer and special assistant to the chief of police.

CSUN police and Student Housing met with students on March 24 to discuss the burglaries and preventative steps for resident safety.

Police officials said they are working behind the scenes to solve this issue but cannot give details. They remind residents of safety procedures posted on fliers and their website.

Howard said she does not feel like police and housing are working efficiently to combat this problem.

“I feel like I’m paying for all of this money for housing but nothing is being done (to keep the dorms safe),” Howard said.

Housing officials could not be reached for comment.

Howard’s father and grandmother traveled from San Francisco on March 21 to aid Katryna after the crime.

“If the parents do not say anything, nothing will get done,” said Waymon Howard, Katryna’s father.

Waymon spoke to housing officials, Risk Mangement, and CSUN police to gather information in hopes of recovering the monetary value that was stolen from his daughter’s dorm room.

He said everyone gave him the “run around.”

“It seems like there is nobody that wants to step up and take responsibility,” Waymon said.

Missy Dominguez, Howard’s roommate, said none of her belongings were stolen but she said she feels as though the problem should be looked at from a different angle.

“The questions should not be how we can prevent students’ items from being stolen, it should be how can we make our campus safer so people won’t be inclined to steal,” the 20-year-old academic advisor said.

Howard is now working to create a resource group for burglary victims at the dormitories. Her goal is to recoup the money from the items that were stolen. She is working with her roommates, parents, another victim and housing staff to generate the group.

“Until we make (dorm safety) a priority, we won’t get it fixed,” Howard said.