Cornell Police officers are expressing concern regarding what they have identified as a recent uptick in the number of reported thefts on campus. More than 50 cases of grand and petit larceny were reported in the last three months alone, according to CUPD.
Deputy Chief David Honan of CUPD said that there were 43 percent more larcenies this year than last year. According to Honan, there were 138 thefts reported between February 2011 and February 2012, as opposed to 96 from February 2010 to February 2011.
“Larceny is the most common crime reported to the Cornell University Police,” Honan said in an email Friday. “At the end of last semester, we observed an increase in a short period of time which caused us to warn the community.”
The University has seen a slight but steady rise of on-campus theft over the past couple of years. according to Honan. CUPD believes the increase can be attributed to both “more consistent reporting” of crimes as well as “an actual increase in larcenies,” he said.
The most commonly stolen items are laptops, cell phones, portable music players and cash, according to CUPD, while other acts of theft have included bicycles, textbooks and furniture. Locker rooms and libraries are among the locations most frequently targeted by thieves.
According to Steven Miller, a chef for Cornell Dining, the incidence of stealing food is another form of larceny that has increased at Cornell over the last few years.
“Food theft is rampant,” Miller said. “It’s a concern that might drive up the price of the meal plan.”
Miller denounced a recent rumor circulating on Facebook, that the University currently charges an additional $50 for each student’s meal plan to compensate for food theft, as harmful and untrue. However, he did say there is a chance that the rise in thefts could lead Cornell Dining to increase prices.
Bryan Roberts, also a chef for Cornell Dining, explained that removing food from all-you-can-eat eateries on campus constitutes theft.
“Students don’t realize that taking food out of the dining halls in Tupperware is definitely stealing,” he said. “It’s never okay to steal.”
According to Honan, CUPD is enlisting the help of the Cornell community to rein in theft, urging students to secure their valuables and homes, and to be proactive about reporting larceny incidents promptly to the police.
“This allows us the greatest opportunity to find leads and evidence related to the case,” he said. “It also provides us the opportunity to analyze thefts to determine if there are any patterns we can use to help solve the case or prevent future thefts.”