Students will soon have better tabs on their property thanks to a revived theft-deterring initiative from the FAMU Police Department.
Michael Wallace, the FAMU police department’s assistant chief for administration and investigations, said Operation Identification has been one of the department’s services for at least two years now, but is just now getting underway.
“It was on our list of services ever since I got here, which was about two years ago, but it was one of those things where we got involved in other things,” Wallace said.
Wallace said Operation ID is now “revived and rejuvenated” and on its way to the dorms.
“We’re kicking strong now,” Wallace said. “It’s a whole new operation.”
Operation ID will allow students on campus to get their property engraved with their names for free, in order to prevent theft.
Chris Jackson, 18, from Montgomery, Ala., said he supports the initiative.
“I’ll do it, as long as it doesn’t damage my property,” the freshman biology pre-med student said.
Jackson said he remembers when four thieves set off the fire alarm and raided Gibbs Hall last semester.
“A guy across the hall from me actually saw one of the guys in his room, trying to steal his computer,” Jackson said.
Wallace said property crimes always keep officers busy around campus.
“Thefts, larceny and petty thefts are our biggest headaches,” Wallace said.
Wallace said everything from books to Playstation game consoles have been stolen, and only some of them have been recovered.
This is because stolen books are often resold before students know what hit them. Even cars have been stolen from students this year, some making their way as far as Jacksonville and Miami, Wallace said.
Wallace said the initiative to stop such crimes is already on its way.
“Housing’s already put out the flyers,” Wallace said.
Students will be able to register their property in their rooms and FAMU police officials will engrave their property in the dorm lobby. If the property is too big to bring downstairs, Wallace said police officials will bring the engraver to the room.
Gerrica Thaxton, 19, a McGuinn Hall resident assistant and sophomore health science student from Jacksonville, said she would definitely have her property engraved, because the housing department is not responsible for any stolen or damaged property on campus.
Thaxton and Wallace said some campus thefts are preventable. Thaxton said some McGuinn residents leave their doors unlocked to go to the bathroom. Wallace said he saw a car parked in front of the Foote-Hilyer Administration building with the key in the ignition, but nobody behind the wheel.
Thaxton said problems with housing facilities are also the blame.
“If you played with my door long enough you could open it,” Thaxton said of her Paddyfoote dorm room last year. “You’re living rent-paid, but there’s no security.”
Wallace said he thinks Operation ID will make thieves think twice before stealing.
“If a thief knows (property) is identified, it’s going to be harder to get rid of,” said Michael Wallace. “They’re not going to want to take something they can’t get rid of.”
Tanya Caldwell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.