CSUN responds to dorm burglaries by increasing police patrols and installing window locks

Brian De Los Santos

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Security devices, such as the rectangular block, were installed on Friday to lock first floor apartment windows in an effort to keep burglars from prying open windows. Photo Credit: Brian De Los Santos / Staff Reporter

Student housing officials have implemented changes to improve security measures at the University Park Apartments due to the escalating number of dorm burglaries at CSUN.

Six dorms were burglarized in two days in the week leading up to Spring break. In March alone 11 dorms were burglarized.  In most cases the suspect(s), entered through the bedroom windows.

In most cases, suspects gained entry when residents left windows or doors open, however in more recent cases, burglar(s) gained entry by prying open the bedroom windows of first floor apartments.

Tim Trevan, director of student housing and conference services, sent out an email to dorm residents on April 8 describing initiatives to battle burglaries,  which include a safety guard for all first floor apartments, police patrolling, and meetings regarding community safety and laptop registration.

“Through a combination of efforts, we believe we can put a stop to these burglaries and make the residence halls safer for all students,” Trevan said in the email.

The safety guard is a locking device that allows the windows to be open six to eight inches, maximum. The small rectangular device is placed within the inside perimeter of the window frame.

The modifications to the first floor apartment windows began April 8. The process is said to be done by today (Monday).

CSUN police are working to apprehend the suspect(s) responsible.  Police officials said they have leads.

“It goes without saying that in these recent cases of burglary, the CSUN police department is diligently working on identifying the suspect(s),” said Christina Villalobos, CSUN police public information officer and special assistant to the chief of police.  “When leads are available, and in this string of burglaries there are, the police always follow up on any clues/information that may help in solving the crime.”

One of the most recent cases, where a witness was able to provide a description of the suspect, occurred March 31, on Cesar Chavez day, just before Spring break.

The burglar stole the victim’s laptop, but the victim witnessed the crime and chased the suspect. The student was able to recover his belongings and give a description of the suspect.

According to the CSUN police Daily Crime Log, the suspect is a black male, 5’10” with a medium-to-heavy build, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and a black beanie over his hooded sweatshirt.

David Nava’s dorm was burglarized March 31, before Spring break began.

“I never thought it would be my dorm it would happen to,” said the sophomore. “It (burglaries) has happened to my friends, but I never thought it would happen to me.”

The suspect entered Nava’s apartment after he and his roommates had fallen asleep, between the hours of 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. When they awoke, they found that the suspect had stolen his roommate’s laptop and camera. They alerted CSUN police.

Nava said the burglar might have gained entry through the balcony window or bedroom window, both of which were unlocked.

Nava did not comprehend how the burglar was able to get past his friend, who was sleeping in the living room, and successfully steal his roommate’s belongings.

“This is an issue that needs to stop,” he said. “I am glad to hear that housing is trying to make changes, to make students feel safe. However, I am now more hesitant to leave my stuff (at the dorms).”

Some students like freshman Vierre Stevenson, 19, said they feel more comfortable living on the first floor of student housing because of the new security measures.

Housing maintenance staff installed the new security device on Stevenson’s first floor apartment window on April 8.

“I feel less obligated to hide my things and it is more secure,” Stevenson said. “Although, the dorm burglaries are an issue and shouldn’t take place at a location such as a university’s housing complex.”