MAGGIE ELIAS ’17
During Thanksgiving break at Trinity, the Cleo of Alpha Chi Literary Society (Cleo) and Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) houses were broken into. Both houses, despite being classified as “off-campus” property, are located on Vernon Street.
According to the President of Cleo, AJ Ballard ’16, it is unknown when exactly the break-ins took place. He explained, “We know that the break in occurred between Wednesday when the last residents of the house left, and Saturday when an alumnus visiting the house noticed items missing. All of our doors were locked when we left for break, and our individual bedroom doors were locked and dead bolted.” There were no signs of forced entry to the house. When the first resident returned, she noted that the back basement door was ajar. The majority of bedroom doors were damaged with locks broken and doorframes split. Campus Safety was unaware of the incident.
After inspecting the house, Ballard determined that five televisions, three laptops, two guitars, part of a sound system, a bag of power tools, and other miscellaneous electronics were stolen. He continued, “Besides the thousands of dollars of equipment that was stolen, the damage to our interior doors from crow-bars will be at least several hundred dollars to repair.” Cleo was also broken into during the summer. Campus Safety and the Harford Police Department are investigating.
Similar to Cleo, it is unknown as to when the break-in at Pike took place during the holiday. The president of Pike, Jack Harris ’16, wrote, “The intruder kicked in a window on the first floor, went upstairs and stole a brother’s TV. Whenever we go on breaks, we ensure that the house is locked and windows are boarded.” Campus Safety was, again, unaware of the incident until residents returned to the house. According to an administrator, there have been at least six other break-ins at Pike over the past six months.
Harris continued, “We have have been in contact with the Hartford Police Department (HPD) and Campus Safety, who are investigating this incident. It is frustrating to see this happen again, especially since we are located right on Vernon Street where there is generally a strong presence of Campus Safety officers.” In addition, Harris has replaced the windows and installed new locks on all of them. He is also in the process of installing an alarm system for when residents are not on campus.
Ballard explained that he spoke to Campus Safety and inquired about the status of the investigation. The office reported that after viewing recorded footage, nothing looked out of ordinary on Vernon Street. The officer speculated that the intruders must have entered and exited from the North Campus parking lot.
Members of both Cleo and Pike are deeply concerned about these incidents. Ballard explained that although Campus Safety and the HPD responded quickly, he “does not have faith that they will follow through given their response to a similar burglary incident that happened over the summer. Where was campus safety when this was happening? There is no way that no one noticed this much equipment being removed from two houses.” In addition, a Pike brother wrote, “I find it unsettling that we’ve already had so many break-ins just this year. But, we haven’t seen any precaution or reaction from the college – no investigation, no new cameras, no security initiative. The criminal activity has become routine where the perpetrators know there will be no consequence.”
There were no other break-ins at Greek properties or any other buildings on Vernon Street during the holiday.
Director of Campus Safety, Brian Heavren, when reached for comment, explained that the break-ins were reported to Campus Safety on Sunday, Nov. 29, at approximately 4:30 p.m., upon the return of students to their houses. They are currently trying to identify when the thefts occurred. When asked about how such an extensive incident went unnoticed, Heavren wrote, “At this time we are investigating how, when, and through which access points people entered the buildings and the routes they took. This will hopefully allow us to determine how the items were taken.”
Campus Safety is currently reviewing camera footage and cooperating with the Hartford Police Department as they investigate these incidents. In addition, Campus Safety and our contracted security partners will continue to conduct patrols throughout campus to prevent incidents like these from occurring. Additionally, they will meet with the residents of the houses involved to review best practices for keeping their houses secure. Trinity encourages anyone who observes anything suspicious to contact Campus Safety so that it can be investigated, and officers are always available to meet to address any security concerns that exist.