Students should adopt watchful mentality

As new technology climbs to the top of ways to combat crime and theft on campus, the question of efficacy invariably comes up. As the Daily Trojan reported Thursday, USC’s Dept. of Public Safety has seen recent success in tracking down stolen property through the use of security cameras and tracking software.

However, if we really want to reduce the theft problem on campus, we have to treat the cause—not the symptoms. Students need to take increased responsibility for their belongings, so that thefts can be prevented before they happen.

While video footage and tracking software might make it easier to apprehend thieves, these technologies remain extremely inefficient. Tracking software only works if a student has downloaded it in on the stolen device, and spending hours going over surveillance tapes to find a laptop or an iPhone that should have been attended by a watchful eye is a huge waste of resources.

It is not the cameras that need to come out. It is not the tracking software that needs to be downloaded. It is an attitude of caution and vigilance that needs to be cultivated.

As college students, we have left the comfort of our homes for another home—one we want to feel is just as safe. Sorry to burst the bubble, but we live in the real world now. Too often, we fall under the illusion that our Mac will be right where we left it at the library, because we trust that our neighbors will automatically watch it for us.

Students need to do whatever it takes to develop a watchful mentality. The university, meanwhile, can encourage such habits through theft prevention workshops, signs and intercom announcements reminding students to keep their belongings close.

Students can also watch out for each other, as well as themselves. We can stop our peers when we see them leaving their belongings unattended. We can keep an eye out for lost or left-behind items and turn them in to authorities.

New uses of technology can help fight theft on campus, but this is only a temporary fix. The true solution lies with every student on campus—a matter of mentality, not money or DPS resources.