Early in the semester, residents staying in University of Indianapolis residence halls have had to deal with missing items and groceries because of others taking belongings from unprotected common areas. According to the UIndy website, in every dorm, there is a kitchen space on each floor containing a stove, refrigerator, microwave and multiple cabinets for all residents of that floor to use. This common space, reserved for the floor, should be a safe place for students to store their belongings.
Cameras are placed by the entrances and exits of all residence halls on-campus, but unfortunately, that is where the camera usage ends. Students who have had items stolen have not been able to find who took their belongings because they were not seen by anyone or any video surveillance.
Senior Monique Honyak, who lives in East Hall, had her belongings taken when she used the fourth floor’s kitchen after her refrigerator broke. Honyak expressed her frustration several times on the UIndy app.
“I bought groceries, forgetting my refrigerator broke, so I put everything in the community fridge. They basically stole half of the groceries that I had in the community fridge. I had a Post-it note on it that said my name and my room number, and they took it,” Honyak said. “It happened again because I had something in the freezer…. And they left the note but took only one of the things that I had in the freezer. And then they took a couple of my kitchen utensils…. it just got really, really annoying.”
Students should not have to deal with this when using common areas. Something should be done to protect students’ belongings. Placing cameras in the common areas, such as the kitchens and laundry rooms, would protect students’ personal belongings. Cameras would be able to identify the people responsible and hold them accountable.
“There’s a camera on the first floor, and I think they should have them on every floor,” Honyak said. “I did go to my RA and RD about it and they basically said, we really can’t do anything about it.”The common spaces are advertised to prospective and current students as features of the residence halls. Utensils, cookware and bakeware belonging to students should stay in students’ own rooms, in theory, but the cost of storing their own perishables can be difficult for some students. The safest option is to purchase a personal room refrigerator, but a mini-fridge can be relatively expensive (around $200, according to Walmart), and the price is even higher if a freezer is included. Instead, measures should be put in place so students can use the spaces the university advertises without losing their belongings. If food or other items are stolen those measures would ensure accountability. Without cameras in these areas, there is little prevention, and problems like these are likely to happen again.