Questions remain at WCH

(Photo by Kate Turner).

Nearly a week after Wilfrid Laurier University students in Waterloo College Hall residence discovered they had been the victims of a number of break-ins, further information on the robberies still remains unknown.

While Chris Hancocks, the operations manager for Special Constables Servies, told The Cord there have been 25 reports of theft from students in WCH. While John Goodman, staff sergeant for the Waterloo Regional Police, told The Cord roughly 20 reports have been made, and Sheldon Pereira, manager of residence life, reported that only 22 thefts have been brought to his attention.
Hancocks told The Cord that the investigation being carried out by Special Constables and the WRPS is still on-going.

“We’re working closely with the Waterloo Regional police to investigate … they have started canvassing the building, and we are providing safety tips … [and] it’s progressing as fast as we can go,” he said.

“[The canvass] is more of a prevention [measure] — the problem is that the building was pretty much empty, but you never know if someone was in there and we haven’t spoken to them yet, or if they remember something, so we’re just looking for any tips that we can get.”

Goodman echoed Hancocks’s comments, and added that WRPS also added safety tips on their university blog. These tips, however, simply reminded students to keep their doors locked and not to leave expensive personal belongings by themselves.

Last week, however, a WCH student told The Cord that upon returning, their doors were locked, and they are extremely skeptical as to how their rooms were broken into.

Being an older residence, WCH also does not have any security cameras built into it.

However, Pereira explained that residence life is looking into having security cameras installed.

“The process of bringing cameras into Waterloo College Hall … has been initiated,” he said. “[But] we’re not a big fan of having security cameras in a residential environment because we want it to feel as much like home as possible.”

He continued by explaining that residences that see high, non-student traffic, such as King Street residence, have security cameras because they are in busy areas. WCH, however, is on a quiet street, so additional security was never an issue residence life believed to be necessary.

Pereira also emphasized that while there are security measures within residence, students are still responsible for themselves.

“A lot of the safety and security of residences comes down to personal safety,” he explained. “At the end of the day, security is everyone’s job; [it is] the responsibility of the resident to make sure that their room is locked and their belongings are secured.”

And while Special Constables and WRPS are working towards finding who was responsible for the break-ins, it is the students who are now responsible for themselves after being affected by the events.

“The university or residential services will not be compensating students for the value of any stolen belongings, because that would be the responsibility of their insurance coverage,” Pereira said.

“When we have students sign their residence agreement, we so have a stipulation … that requires all residents to have insurance to protect the contents of their room.”

While no more reports have been filed since the initial wave, Special Constables is still unable to comment on any details of the investigation.

However, Hancocks stated that if someone is found guilty, they will be charged “with 25 counts of break and enter, and theft … and whatever the courts [decide].”

While police resources are still being used to investigate, Hancocks emphasized that the building was and still is secure, and Pereira ensured that residence life is working towards ensuring students feel safe and comfortable once again.

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