Res thefts suggest broader security concerns for students

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After the arrest of a Residence Life don in connection with various thefts in residence, the Laurier community was confused as to how the suspect was hired and why the investigation took so long to produce an arrest.

The university has made clear this is not a common case and steps are being taken to prevent similar cases in the future. The university has also made it clear that the hiring process is rigorous and applicants are selected with extreme care. However, up to last year applicants could be hired without providing a background check and even with them in place, the suspect was hired. If done properly, the suspect’s history would have been a red flag in the hiring process.

Beyond hiring concerns is the length of the investigation; investigations should be conducted professionally and with integrity, but the longer they last the longer criminals have to find new victims. There were approximately 39 instances of breaking and entering reported in relation to this case. It had to be clear, at least a majority of the time, that a key was used to enter the room. Would a master key not come to the mind of Residence Life and investigators? To be fair, hindsight is 20/20 and a don is typically an individual who is known and trusted. It does potentially signal a lack of willingness to look internally to solve the problem.

There is a lot of attention given to campus security and safety measures students should be taking while walking home or hanging out on campus at night. There is comparatively little security inside residences. Security cameras would have very quickly helped identify the method of entry if not the suspect. There are privacy concerns related to cameras in living quarters, but such measures do exist in residences off campus. Compared to many other universities, entrance into residence has minimal oversight. With relative ease, any individual can enter a residence building.

It is impossible to predict crime or prevent all breaches of student safety; the university should not be expected to do so. There should be accountability and serious reflection when student safety is violated and could have been prevented.

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