Theft is Top Crime on DSU’s Campus


According to Chief Lynn Buford, head of the Delta State University Police Department, larceny is the largest category of crime on any college campus. The combination of college students and bustling campuses create an environment that favors a criminal thief. College students tend to carry around laptops, cell phones, book bags and other valuable items. In addition to this, students have cars and other expensive objects in their dorms to worry about.

Delta State is no stranger to theft. Just last month on Sept. 19, Delta State student, Najawon Wilson, became a victim of theft. His book bag was stolen from the University’s Art Department’s lounge. Wilson filed a police report, but his bag has yet to be found.

When asked what Delta State could do to help prevent future cases of larceny, Wilson stated, “I personally think we as a student body and faculty should observe more. Let’s be very attentive and not have the bystander effect. Something can be said when a set of circumstances does not seem right.”

The Delta State police department has been relatively successfully in retrieving stolen items. Buford recalled many occasions in which a thief tried to sell a stolen book back to the campus bookstore only to be handed over to the police.

Similarly, stolen electronics have been recovered after the thief logged on to the stolen device through the campus’s Wi-Fi. If the electronic device is registered with Delta State, the Office of Information Technology can notify the police department when the stolen device is logged into Delta State’s system.

Buford noted that in order to retrieve stolen items, the student must have some kind of identifying mark on their belongings, or if it’s an electronic device they must have it registered with Delta State.

However, Delta State student Breck Severns had an unsatisfactory experience with the police department. Severns’s laptop was stolen in April of 2016, and she encountered Buford during the process of writing a police report.

“I talked to Chief Buford and he was helpful in guiding me through the steps but my tablet was never found,” Severns stated.

“I don’t think Delta State University does a good job at preventing thefts,” she continued. “The school needs more cameras placed around the campus.”

Buford contends that though few, there are cameras placed around the campus for added security.

Buford also wanted to share some tips with Delta State students to help prevents thefts in the future:

  • Make sure you lock your room doors and car doors. Also, keep any valuable items out of sight.
  • On books or backpacks and other items, place a distinguishing mark where only you would know. For instance, write your name under one of your straps or have a number code placed in certain pages of a book.
  • Don’t leave any personal items unattended, even if your friends are nearby.
  • Take pictures of your personal items. If they are stolen the police department can use these pictures to help identify the stolen item.
  • Register your electronics with the University and register any vehicles or bikes with the police department.

These tips aren’t a surefire way to prevent theft, but they are preventable measures that need to be taken. Buford urges students to report their item missing if stolen.

The Delta State Police Department is here for student safety and well-being. For emergencies, you can reach them at 662-846-4155.