FAMU police chief urges students to be vigilant after apartment theft

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The path many FAMU students take to enter the Palmetto and Phase One campus apartments.

By Aiyana Ishmael

A recent a break-in at Florida A&M University’s on-campus apartments seemed all too familiar for the many residents that live in the Phase and Palmetto South units.

Early Sunday morning Resident Assistant Karlyn Sykes was on shift when she had to make a phone call to campus security about a break-in.

An unidentified man entered one of the housing units and asked a resident if they had a phone charger. Once he was told no, the man went on to the next door, which was open. He proceeded to enter the dorm and stole a MacBook and $150, turned on the shower and left. The residents were asleep at the time and woke up confused as to what happened.

“These things can be avoided if we take better measures to protect our things,” said Terrance Calloway, FAMU’s assistant vice president of safety and chief of police. “This is an open campus. You’re subject to see anything go missing.”

The residents that had their items stolen were unable to be identified because the case is still open. Many residents of Phase and the Palmetto’s were aware of the incident, but didn’t know much about what happened.

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The open Phase One apartment hallway that residents and non-residents can access easily.

These on-campus apartments are located at the furthest edge of FAMU’s campus and are surrounded by residential homes. While this specific case is still open, many other residents of this complex deal with the burden of theft from students and neighboring communities.

Nakia Grant, a resident assistant, previously had her speaker set stolen out of the back seat of her car. She ultimately didn’t report this to campus safety because she knew the rules and didn’t expect to get her items back.

“We feel so safe here,” Calloway said. “Like it’s your home, but students have to realize it’s an open campus.”

Calloway explained that many students tend to forget that FAMU is a public place. Although students live on campus in a very comfortable environment, he reminded students that you wouldn’t leave your stuff laying around an airport or mall and should follow suit on campus.

Calloway recalled many stories of students leaving their personal belongings out, then going somewhere and after returning they saw that their items were stolen. This is a common issue around campus that many students don’t realize.

And while Calloway and his team work to improve the rate of larceny on campus, it will still be hard to control outside sources.

“Make sure your front door is closed and don’t open it for strangers,” Grant said. “If you have a friend coming over call them to make sure it’s them knocking. Lock your front door and your room doors. You never know what will happen.”

To try to put an end to theft on campus, FAMU students are urged to be vigilant of their belongings and keep their dorm rooms locked at all times.

“Whether we’re in a rich or poor area you can’t stop people from stealing,” Calloway said.

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