Campus break-ins hit Kwantlen

Security increases presence on Surrey campus

Security increases presence on Surrey campus.

By Sheetal Reddy

Since December, Kwantlen’s Surrey campus has been the victim of three separate break-ins. Thieves broke into the social justice space in Cedar building on Dec. 28, 2013 and on Jan. 24. A third break-in also took place on Jan. 29 in Room 204, in Surrey Main building. The break-ins have led to an increased security patrol on campus.

According to Harry McNeil, head of security, the thieves forced entry into the space located in the Cedar building, by climbing up the patio stairs and shattering the office windows. Computers and other electronic equipment were stolen from the social justice space, says McNeil. No suspects were caught from either of the two break-ins. The third one is under investigation as of press time.

Even with the recent circumstances, McNeil says that Kwantlen is a relatively safe place and doesn’t get broken into often. What is stolen can be replaced, and under normal circumstances the university doesn’t consider increasing security presence, however with the repeat break-ins he ordered extra patrols.

“The system takes a look at it and says that it’s material. We can build another one, we can buy another one, we can get another one, and we can rent another one. So as long as it’s material stuff, they don’t worry too much about it,” he says.

Student safety is handled in a different way than these routine cases, he says. “There is no question about what a life is worth and what a computer is worth. We know a computer is worth a grand, but you know, you can’t put the same value on life. So if there was a threat here, it would be treated so much differently.”

Kari Michaels, advocacy coordinator of the Kwantlen Student Association, surveyed the situation after one of the break-ins. “While the institution responded to security concerns, they could have paid a little more attention to cleaning up the broken glass that was all over the floor and the couches in the space,” she says.

Michaels is a frequent user of the space herself, and trains other students about the inclusivity of a social justice space. Although not surprised the break-ins occurred during a time there was no student presence, she hopes that availability and student access to the space doesn’t become limited because of the repeated robberies. She adds that more may need to be done in general to effectively reduce crime in the community.

“I’m not certain if it’s super effective to prevent break-ins in terms of adding extra presence,” she says, “But to be fair, people breaking into buildings is a social problem that a higher authority presence isn’t really going to fix.”