Fall Break Burglaries: How Safe is our Campus?

Good Counsel hall was broken into on Oct. 14 while students were away on fall break.

While most students were away on fall break this past week, the University and the surrounding area were subject to two concerning burglary incidents. According to the Radnor Police, on Oct. 13 at around 2 a.m., the Villanova Stop and Shop on Lancaster Avenue was burglarized. The video surveillance showed two white males stealing money and cigarettes from the store. Law Enforcement is still investigating this incident. 

     Perhaps the more alarming incident occurred on Oct. 14 at nearly midnight on the first floor of Good Counsel Hall. Gaining access through a first-floor window, the unidentified person entered a room, but it does not appear that they stole anything. The residents of the room were notified. However, University Police are still investigating this crime. 

     Despite these incidents seeming minor with no immediate danger or casualties, it still makes me question just how safe we are on campus. 

     Further delving into the incident that occurred directly on campus, many concerning factors immediately come to mind. How secure are our window locks if any random individual can pop it open and enter? Is our surveillance at its utmost quality if the individual has not yet been identified and it has been a week? And most importantly, what actions are going to be taken for this not to occur again? 

     In my experience so far as a freshman living on the second floor of St. Monica’s, I have never felt unsafe in my building or individual room. However, the new incidents at hand are making me question the system of safety within our dorm buildings. For example, a few weeks ago I visited a few friends at West Chester University. Upon entering their dorm building, there was a security guard sitting at the front desk taking physical notes of who signed in and how many guests they had. If you did not have an ID, such as a driver’s license, you were not allowed admittance even past the front lobby.

      Now, many of you may be thinking that is a bit extreme for a college setting, but I see the benefits. Even having a member of Villanova Public Safety sit at the front desk in each dorm building for a few hours on the weekends would provide more security than what is the current situation of nobody sitting at the front desk no matter the day or hour. This means that anyone can walk in as long as a student with a Wildcard gives them access through the front door. That detail alone just does not sit right with me. 

     Referring to the discussion on window locks, perhaps installing a more complex mechanism could prevent break ins or even slow down the individual trying to enter. If someone who is trying to enter needs more allotted time to break in, chances are there would be a higher success rate of capturing said burglars. Video surveillance can further provide more insight into capturing these potentially dangerous individuals. The Villanova Stop and Shop burglary was at least able to identify how many persons and a general idea of what they looked like. The Good Counsel incident however has yet to identify if the person was even male or female. How can we prevent these incidents if we cannot even have a detailed description of those performing the crime? 

    Although many factors came into play with the incident in Good Counsel, such as hardly anyone being around to see the incident and the rooms being vacant for an easy break in, it is concerning we now must consider dangerous outsiders entering our rooms. The only thing we can hope for now is that these individuals will be identified and better security will be reinforced. I know I will personally be hiding my valuable belongings a lot more if I am out of my dorm for hours at a time. 

     The University is for the most part a very safe campus. However, I think certain aspects of security can be tweaked so these burglary incidents can become obsolete. Hopefully, this is the last time we will hear about break ins for the rest of the year and changes will begin for the future security of our campus, as well as the safety of the students.