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Two on-campus burglaries reported

Campus police have reported two on-campus burglaries this January at the University of Miami.
UM Campus Police made an arrest last week for a burglary in the Mahoney Residential College, although it is not confirmed if the suspect is linked to other burglaries earlier in January, which occurred in the on-campus apartment area.
Efren Candelaria, a student living in Apartment Building 23, was burglarized once in November and another time in January.
Candelaria and his roommates were asleep when the second robbery occurred.
“It’s frustrating. Twice in two months? I don’t even feel safe anymore. It’s ridiculous,” Candelaria said.
He and his roommates suspect that the perpetrator in their Jan. robbery somehow obtained a copy of the key to their door.
According to Derek Bramble, Candelaria’s roommate, the university will not change the locks on their apartment door nor allow the roommates to do so without receiving a fine.
Students living in the apartment area say they are especially concerned about robberies because the Coral Gables campus is so open and anyone is free to come and go. They said that the university is not doing enough to ensure their safety.
“Due to our completely open campus, I worry especially about students living in the apartment area. Besides being able to just walk on campus, I’ve always questioned the purpose of the main gate where anyone can drive in without being questioned,” said Michelle Camargo, an apartment resident and fourth year architecture student.
“As a student residing in the apartment area, I don’t feel safe. With so many people being robbed, my roommates and I resorted to locking our doors while we’re home. I feel that it is such a travesty to feel so unsafe, especially on campus,” Jenessa Joseph, a third year broadcasting journalism student living in the apartment area.
Students said they feel that the university is slacking in their response to these burglaries.
“I’ve heard about many robberies on campus and I worry that no precautions are being taken. University officials have done nothing to stop future robberies or to assist the victims of these burglaries,” said Marian Martinez, a fourth year architecture student.
“I have heard through the grapevine about robberies. I didn’t hear this dangerous news from my RA, who is supposed to watch out for my well-being,” said Roberta Freitas, a junior who has lived in the apartment area for a year and a half.
“I find it terribly disturbing that nothing is being done by the University to compensate lost property of the students or to catch the thief. I feel as though we pay damn good money to go here, our safety should be top priority,” Freitas said.
“When is the University going to start doing something about this? When someone gets raped or killed?” Candelaria said. “I’m seriously contemplating the idea now of moving off campus. I’m getting the feeling that this school doesn’t care about us or at least doesn’t show support.”
However, university officials say they have been addressing the issue of students’ safety.
“Student safety is of paramount importance to the university,” said Dr. Pat Whitely, Vice-President for Student Affairs.
“It is important that students feel safe living on campus, regardless of whether it is a residential college or the apartments, and if improvements are necessary we will address them,” Whitely said.
“During school breaks like Thanksgiving and Spring Break, we do increase bike patrol and do hire off-duty police officers to patrol the campus because we know students are not here,” said Henry Christensen, director of Public Safety.
The Department of Public Safety gives a synopsis of any crimes that occur to the Director of Residence Halls, which in turn is given to the Residential College security, said Capt. Clusman.
However, this does not ensure that resident students are notified of recent crimes.
Crime alerts are also posted on the University of Miami web site to inform students and faculty.
Students can look at the crime log to find out statistics on crimes on campus.
“Students also need to become partners in campus safety and keep their doors locked,” Whitely said.
“If students have specific concerns that need to be addressed, I would be more than willing to discuss at anytime,” Whitely said.
“Maj. Henry Christensen tells me he is meeting with Derek Bramble on Monday to discuss his concerns, which apparently involve him being turned down by the Department of Residence Halls to issue him a new key,” said Margot Winick, Assistant Director of Media Relations.
Watch out for the next issue of the Miami Hurricane where we take a look at con artists on campus.

February 12, 2002

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.