Houlder Hudgins ’18 noticed his K-Card was missing on the afternoon of Oct. 5, when he tried to re-enter Farr Hall after lunch. He thought he might have dropped the card in his room or somewhere around campus, until he noticed that his debit card and cash were also missing from his wallet.
On the night of Oct. 4, two students in firefighter division housing in Farr Hall woke to the sound of someone rummaging through their room. Another Farr Hall resident, Alex O’Connor ’17, heard someone rattling his locked door knob and barricaded the door with a desk chair. Other Farr residents saw someone leaving their rooms from a distance, but dismissed the event as unusual but not worthy of reporting.
Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper has recently noted an uptick in thefts occurring in the past few weeks — especially theft from vehicles and student residences — mostly from unlocked vehicles or rooms on north campus, according to Chair of Campus Safety Aldis Petriceks ’17.
“[Hooper] didn’t provide me with any specific numbers, but one thing they’ve been noticing is an increase, especially North, in thefts from vehicles and thefts from rooms,” Petriceks said.
Hudgins said he went to sleep early on Tuesday night and slept soundly. He spent most of Wednesday in his room, until he went to lunch at Peirce and noticed some of the missing items. After a discussion with several other students who had either heard something in their room or seen someone leaving their room, Hudgins decided to report the incident to Campus Safety.
Safety officers encouraged Hudgins to file a police report with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, because his debit card and K-Card had both been used to make local purchases and a police report of the theft would protect Hudgins from being financially liable. Although other students heard someone rifling through their rooms, no other missing items were reported, according to Hudgins.
Hooper wrote in an email to the Collegian that incidents like the theft from Hudgins’ room are unfortunately common, since students since students often leave their rooms unlocked. Campus Safety and the Sheriff’s department conduct separate investigations of crimes, although they cooperate and coordinate with one another.
Recently released crime statistics for Kenyon’s campus, made publicly available under the Clery Act, show that burglary has been on the decline at Kenyon in the past few years. Ohio law defines burglary as “trespass in an occupied structure [by force, stealth or deception] … with purpose to commit in the habitation any criminal offense.” In 2013, there were 20 reported cases of burglary on campus, but this number decreased to 11 reported cases in 2014 and three reported cases in 2015. All the reported burglaries in 2015 occurred in residence halls.
Hudgins said he became more conscientious about locking his door after the incident — even while he’s in the room — and believes that other students have also become more cautious. But Hudgins thinks students will eventually return to old habits.
“The monetary loss is one thing, but I go to Kenyon College, I live in Farr Hall,” Hudgins said. “I kind of expect this sense of security, which I guess maybe I shouldn’t.”
“At Kenyon there’s definitely a culture of wanting to trust everyone,” Petriceks said. “The cost/benefit of taking the extra second to lock your door points pretty clearly to doing that.”
Campus Safety and the sheriff’s office are currently investigating the theft. There has been speculation among students in Farr Hall about the identity of the perpetrator, according to Hudgins, but he declined to name any specific suspects to avoid spreading rumors.