Three thefts on the same floor have given students a refresher course on residence hall safety.
Between Jan. 16 and Jan. 18, three residents of the third floor of Menk Hall left their rooms unattended, only to return to find textbooks and other items stolen.
The three thefts are still under investigation by university police, according to University Police Corporal Al Tank. They currently have no suspects in the thefts and are not aware of any similarities in the crimes, he said.
Tank said he wants to stress the importance of awareness and personal accountability on the part of students.
"Security is the No. 1 thing," Tank said. "Secure your door whenever you leave the room. It's just plain crime prevention."
Ball State freshman Dirkus Callahan and Kevin Heuller know all too well the possible repercussions of leaving a dorm room unattended.
Callahan was spending time in a friend's room Jan. 16. He was only gone for 30 minutes, but he left his room unlocked. He returned to find four books worth more than $200 had been stolen. They have yet to be recovered.
Heuller and his roommate were in and out of their room for short periods of time Jan. 17. They also left their door unlocked, and Heuller discovered early the next morning that $260 worth of textbooks had been stolen.
Heuller had written his name inside the textbooks, and, in cooperation with UPD and T.I.S. bookstore, where the books were returned, some of his materials were recovered. He was able to claim the books by verifying his name inside them.
"I have a pretty good relationship with everyone on my floor, so I don't see why anyone would do this," Heuller said. "Now my roommate and I are very careful, locking the door even when we step out to the shower or bathroom."
Callahan is taking a similar precaution.
"I'm just making sure the room is locked at all times, even if I step out for just five minutes," Callahan said.
Tank advised students to exercise caution at all times with regard to their personal belongings.
"You've got to be aware of your surroundings," Tank said. "If you leave valuables unattended, you're just leaving them sitting for criminals to steal."
Potential thieves are known to simply walk through hallways testing doorknobs, Tank said.
"Thieves are always sitting around watching," Tank said. "You can't get lackadaisical. That's when you lose it."