SkillsShop offers advice for protecting property

By Tiffany Chubb

Staff Writer


In the cold, spacious room of S220 at Brookhaven College, student Kevin Hughes patiently waited for the presentation to begin. Hughes said he decided to attend the workshop to receive extra credit in his speech class, but ended up leaning more than he thought.

As Dr. Shirley Walker, professional counselor with Student Support Services at Brookhaven, unsuccessfully wrangled with the video component of the workshop, she began with two questions: “Who commits most campus crimes, and what is the best way to protect yourself from thefts of opportunity?”

Walker opened the discussion with cell phone safety, one part of the SkillsShop lecture, “Don’t Lose Your Stuff: Protecting Your Possessions and Identity.” One student said he had his phone taken.

Walker gave out a few tips for cell phone safety. She advised attendees to carry their phones with them whenever possible and make sure they are in a safe place whenever they leave them behind.

Walker advised attendees never to allow someone unfamiliar to use their cell phones. She said if someone asks to borrow a phone, offer to make the call for them.

Walker said a popular trend for phone thieves is to say their phone died and ask to use someone else’s. When the phone is handed off, the thief will run away. Walker said: “If your phone is gone, report it to the carrier and the police. If your phone has GPS, it can be tracked.”

According to the open records daily crime log in the Brookhaven College Police Department, during the month of September, one theft was reported in C Building. Officer Jimmy Snyder said: “It was a plant that was taken. Most of what gets stolen is what you leave out.” Snyder said most crimes are committed by students and not by professional thieves. “They are crimes of opportunity,” he said.

Another tip Walker gave was to put one’s name on items. “Put your name in the margin or page 250 where thieves would not likely look. The first page can be ripped out,” Walker said.

Hughes said he knew most of the information presented, but learned that if a website states https://, that means it is secure. If it’s just http://, it is not.

Brookhaven student Karla Gonzalez, attending for English class credit, said she learned students are stealing books. She said she will be more careful with everything she has. She said she enjoyed the SkillsShop and will pass on what she has learned.