Peeping Tom raises questions about campus security

Senior Laura Byers was getting ready for bed early Wednesday morning after staying up late working on a project. She said she went over to her window and closed it, but forgot to close the blinds.

After laying down on her bed, about to fall asleep, she went to put her cell phone down on her bedside table right in front of her window.

That’s when she saw him.

“[Shiloh Scott, her neighbor] freaked me out and scared me,” Byers said. “He had been about to knock on my window to tell me that someone had been looking in my window.”

Byers said that she didn’t even see who the guy was. She said she was scared because the lights were on in her room and she still didn’t see the man looking in her window.

“I went into to pure panic,” she said. “My first thought was ‘Oh my god, I have to call BUPD.’

“My roommates and I were freaking out.

“I couldn’t tell if I was scared more from Shiloh scaring me or the fact he was there and I didn’t even notice.”

Byers said Scott lives across the street behind her house on Berkley Place.

Scott pulled into his driveway and noticed the man looking into her window through his rearview mirror. Scott started to approach the man to ask what he was doing, but the man ran away.

“I called BUPD and they came right away and did a search of the area, but didn’t see him,” Byers said. “I went out and talked to them, and while I was talking to them, they got the radio of the robbery [a couple blocks away].

“I couldn’t go to sleep very well that night,” Byers said. “It was a weird feeling.”

Byers said that she was always aware that 44th Street is a targeted area but the incident has changed the way her and her roommates act around the house. Byers said that they always lock their doors even if they are all in the house.

She said she urges others to be safe because it could happen to anyone.

Byers’ roommate, senior Maddy Barnas, said that the incident worried her because she had discovered her window was broken the day before.

She said she was also there when BUPD got the call about the break-in down the street.

“[BUPD] got a call that there was a break in a few houses down, probably by the same person,” Barnas said. “They didn’t seem very urgent about tending to it.

“Also the fact that after that break in there was a car broken into around the same area right after.

“It just seems like they’re not being very proactive about anything. They’re great at busting parties, not so great at busting criminals.”

Assistant Police Chief Andrew Ryan said they have passed off further investigation of these incidents to their detective.

He said the department’s guess was that the person who was looking into Byers’ window and the person who broke into the house down the block was the same person because of the time frame both incidents happened and the close proximity.

“I’ve been here 19 years and that’s the only time I can recall of anybody ever having their door kicked while they were in the house,” Ryan said. “It’s troubling for me.”

He said the best thing that BUPD can do for students is try and teach people to remove the opportunity to become a victim of a crime.

“We don’t prevent,” Police Chief Ben Hunter said. “Crime occurs. We’re in a position to mitigate and stop crime if it occurs.

“Our job is to be proactive and to patrol and to reduce the opportunity of someone committing a crime.”

Both Hunter and Ryan said it is very important that suspicious activity be reported along with a description of the suspicious person.

“I applaud the students who called [about the guy looking into Byer’s window],” Ryan said.

On average, BUPD tries to maintain four officers on the late shift depending on schedules and training, Hunter said.

“I know BUPD is there, and I know that they really want to help us, but really bad things keep happening,” Byers said. “They patrol well, but too much has happened. I think more actions should be taken.”


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