CPSO concerned over rash of burglaries

Campus Public Safety officers are currently investigating a string of burglaries reported around campus over the past six months, according to Interim Lieutenant Craig Whitten.

To avoid compromising the investigations, Whitten did not divulge which departments have been affected by the thefts nor did he put a dollar value on the items stolen. The burgled items are a mix of University and private property, he said, and were taken both through forced entry and “by taking advantage of the fact that things were lying around,” Whitten said.

According to Whitten, the investigations are routine. “Whenever a report is filed, we look into it,” he said. “We always investigate when there’s something to follow up on.”

It can take months for officers to put together incidents and notice patterns leading to an arrest.

By identifying patterns in the burglaries, such the time of day, method of theft, similarity of items taken or area targeted, officers can make connections and more easily apprehend a burglar.

Of the current cases, Whitten said that officers are unsure which incidents, if any, are linked to the same perpetrators.

“Some reports we take, it’s just some random thing,” Whitten said. “It takes time to develop information, to make more contacts and to go back and interview victims again. Sometimes it’s as simple as showing victims a six-pack and seeing if it brings up anything helpful,” he said, referring to photos of persons of interest.

Whitten commented that though more reports have been filed this year than by the same time in 2003, the flux may be indicative of increased awareness rather than a rising crime rate.

“We’re trying to become more proactive,” Whitten said, explaining that officers have encouraged departments to keep CPSO informed. “It may be that people are reporting more incidents.”

Bob Wise, building manager for Smith Memorial Student Union, has a different impression of crime trends.

“I don’t think this is just random theft. I think it may be the work of professional thieves,” Wise said, noting that the game office and the temporary poolroom in the Smith basement were recently broken into, though nothing was stolen.

“There’s always been break-ins on campus, but the office stuff has been more severe over the past couple of weeks.”

To view reports in the crime blotter, visit www.cpso.pdx.edu/html/crimeblotter.htm.