Finals week is approaching, and the Michigan State University Police Department, or MSUPD, has safety tips for those studying around campus.
Don't leave items unattended
MSUPD Capt. Doug Monette urged students not to leave their backpacks, laptops, phones and wallets unattended when studying in the library, Union or other on-campus study lounges.
"They think they may be leaving for just a few minutes, and during that time, someone grabs those items," Monette said.
When students need to change locations, grab food or go to the bathroom, the best course of action is to take all personal items with them, Monette said. However, the second-best option is to have a study partner watch over the items — someone the student trusts.
Trust is important, Monette said, as students often ask a stranger to watch their things for a few minutes. It's better to have a study buddy and leave things with someone they know, or ask a person at a front desk to watch things for a moment.
Lock your doors
Students, faculty and staff are extraordinarily busy during finals week and try to shift between their responsibilities as fast as possible, Monette said. Not taking time to lock the door when they leave their home opens individuals up to become a victim of a crime of opportunity.
"They're going down the hall to borrow something from a neighbor, or just to have a conversation, and they leave the door unlocked," Monette said. "It gives someone the opportunity to grab something real quick."
For students living on campus, it's not only their own belongings that can be taken, but also their suitemates'. During spring break, Wilson Hall experienced a total of six burglaries. All affected rooms were left unlocked or connected to a suitemate's room that was left unlocked, according to MSUPD.
Know what to do if you think something has been stolen
Not knowing where a laptop or backpack is during finals week can be unnerving for students when deadlines and tests are coming fast. Students should be aware of lost and found areas in on-campus buildings, Monette said. Building employees can point them to the nearest lost and found.
"If an item is stolen you can contact the police department and report it," Monette said. "There's also a lost and found here at the front desk."
Members of the MSU community can call the MSUPD front desk at (517) 355-2221 or stop by to speak to someone at the station at:
1120 Red Cedar Road
East Lansing, MI 48824
If there's a chance that an item may not be stolen, but forgotten and left somewhere, there is an unofficial MSU lost and found Facebook page.