This campaign consists of various flyers posted around campus in the most high-theft areas such as the Oakland and Rec Centers. The posters show the Grizz as an OU student, unaware that his backpack or iPhone are being stolen from right under his nose.
The Grizz donated his time to the project, and the communications and marketing department helped as well, according to OUPD.
“If we have one person that sees the flyer on their way to the bathroom in the library they can think, ‘Oh, maybe I shouldn’t leave my stuff unattended,” said OUPD Sergeant Nicole Thompson. “It’s the first time OUPD has really done anything like this, an ad campaign to raise awareness.”
Rebekah Thomas, a sophomore American Sign Language major, thought her backpack would be safe if she stored it in a locked room at WXOU while she went to the Rec Center with a friend. When she came back to retrieve it, everything was there except her Macbook Pro.
Thomas, who worked at WXOU last year, she said before the incident she never before left her belongings unattended for fear they would be stolen.
“I was leaving the Rec (Center) when I remembered I needed (the keys to the office),” Thomas said. “He (her friend) then told me about the spare key’s existence and where I could find it. So I go to the station and get my stuff and when I pick up my backpack, I knew my laptop wasn’t there.”
Thomas thought she may have left her computer in the library earlier, but she couldn’t find it there either. She immediately filed a police report.
“It was literally the nicest thing I owned,” Thomas said. “There was no way I could afford another one.”
Theft on campus is the most common crime committed, according to OUPD.
Thompson said OUPD gets reports of stolen items at least once a week, and if theft is reduced OU’s crime rate will decrease dramatically.
“It’s almost deceiving because everybody feels so safe here on OU’s campus that they don’t think about crime,” OUPD Detective Shona Collins said. “You wouldn’t set several thousand dollars out on the table at the library and go walk to the bathroom, but you leave your laptop. And for a criminal, that’s the same thing.”
Although Thomas never got her laptop back, there are things students can do ahead of time that can increase their chances of getting their things back if anything is stolen.
“We suggest writing down serial numbers, model numbers, even take a picture of your expensive items,” Thompson said.
If a student has a serial or model number, OUPD can enter the information into their LEIN (Law Enforcement Information Network) system. If the item turns up somewhere, OUPD can enter the serial number back. Cell phones and computers with GPS also have a better chance of making it back to their owners because they are easier to track.
“Especially if students have them (serial numbers) written down, the odds are a whole lot better,” Collins said. “Even if you wait a day, it can already be sold and it’s gone forever. If you have it immediately then it’s a huge help.”