Library Tightens Security After Spring’s Rash of Thefts

PAULINE GUIUAN
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Most students think that GCC is an extremely safe environment. Although this is mostly true, security on campus was threatened by a rash of thefts that occurred last semester in one of the least expected places on campus: the library.

The majority of the thefts were reported by students in the library from June 2 through 8, the finals week of the spring semester. The thefts occurred in the main circulation area of the library, particularly among the study cubicles where students had left their books and personal belongings unattended.

Wallets, purses and electronic devices such as cellular phones were among the items stolen, and these were taken at various times during the day from different study cubicles; these were repeated throughout the week.

“These crimes involved no witnesses and no evidence,” said Nidal Kobaissi, a police specialist from the office of the chief of the police department. The police have been unable to identify the culprit, and none of the stolen items have been recovered.

Librarian Lucille Whalen says that some students even reported entire bags missing, along with their textbooks. She says that it was “easier to monitor the students” years ago, when the library had long study tables, compared to now, when the librarians’ view of the circulation area is obstructed by the tall partitions separating each computer carrel.

Since the incidents, campus police have provided safety bulletins warning library patrons about thefts. These bulletins have been posted by the library staff around the entire library building and instruct students not to leave their books, bags and other belongings unattended.

Also, although the library offers extended hours during finals week, the staff still try to keep the hours limited to what is still safe for the students. The library usually closes at 10 p.m. during finals. The library staff assures the students that campus police still patrol the grounds at this time and that the librarians themselves keep a closer watch on people who enter the library. To date, no thefts have occurred since the spring semester.

Kobaissi calls the spring thefts “opportunity crimes.” “The best measure is to inform library patrons that they should never walk away from their belongings,” he said. “If the items had not been left unattended, the thefts would never have occurred.”????????????????