College living habits help burglars


Yasmin Moussavi, Staff Writer

It seems the world we live in has become a place where you can’t trust anyone. You hear of people being robbed all the time, but you never think it will happen to you.

Close to 25 percent of all serious crimes that occur in Santa Barbara County, including burglary, grand theft, sexual assault, and other violent crimes, happen in Isla Vista. A place many of us call home.

It’s hard to wrap my head around the idea of stealing someone’s personal belongings under any circumstance, but it happens often. This isn’t because IV is so densely populated and a huge party area. It’s because people leave their doors unlocked and belongings unprotected.

I moved to IV last semester, and learned the hard way that people will steal from you if you make it easy for them. I know from experience, leaving your front door open or unlocked is the worst thing you can do when living in a town full of college kids. You will get robbed.

Always lock your doors when you leave your house. It’s a great idea to get a lock on your bedroom door as well. That way if someone else leaves the front door unlocked a potential thief can’t make it into your room to steal your valuables.

I wasn’t surprised when I came home last Oct. to find the front door to my apartment wide open. My suite-mate was home, and it was always open. My roommates and I had a sort of open door policy for friends to come and go; as long as someone was home, the door was open.

What shocked me was walking into my bedroom and not being able to find my laptop anywhere. I knew what happened immediately. Someone came into my unit and stolen my laptop.

It was obvious, but I couldn’t figure out how that had been possible when my suite-mate was home. When I asked, she said she was in her bedroom with the door closed and listening to music. Which brings me to my next point.

Be careful whom you live with! I never suspected my suite mate of setting up the robbery or stealing the items herself, but there are many cases when roommates do have something to do with a burglary situation.

I quickly realized my best friend, who I share a room with, and another roommate, who has her own room, had been robbed as well. The girl who was home had nothing taken from her bedroom. Three laptops and an iPad, a total of about $4,000 worth of technology were stolen, making it a grand theft crime.

There were cameras near my front door and at every exit and entrance in my apartment building. Despite cameras outside my residence and police efforts to collect evidence, the thief was never caught.

According to security the cameras had been overlooked carefully, but people don’t usually care to look hard enough when they aren’t conflicted with the problem themselves. Lesson, don’t rely on cameras or security to protect your belongings.

I was enraged that someone had the nerve to come into our apartment while my suite-mate was home and rob us of our belongings. I hated thinking of the money my mother wasted on a brand new laptop that was in my possession for less than five months, but more than anything I couldn’t stand how violated I felt. That person stole our property and our peace of mind and got away with it.

I had hoped people would have the morality to respect another’s property, but it seems I was too trusting. I’ve learned that some people don’t follow what should be a societal norm. It’s easy to dwell on it, but the only thing left to do was learn from the experience and know better for the future.

There isn’t a way to eliminate the burglary problem in IV, but you can reduce your chances of becoming a victim of a burglary crime.

Isla Vista foot patrol

Study: Theft rates high in college towns