By Leah Shaw, for The Miami Student
It’s a typical Friday night at Miami University; classes are done for the week and there are fraternity houses filled with people dancing, singing, drinking and … stealing things.
Off-campus theft is increasing in Oxford, and is becoming a fad at house parties.
According to the Oxford Police Department (OPD) Sgt. Jon Varley, this academic year alone the OPD has seen a total of 311 off-campus thefts, but these are only the ones that are reported to the OPD. This means that the total number of thefts, including unreported ones, could be even greater.
“The most prevalent areas for thefts in Oxford are “mile square” area and some off campus housing,” Varley said.
He added that the most is theft from unlocked motor vehicles and houses that are left unlocked or while there is a party going on at the residence.
The off-campus thefts include anything from something as small as a bunch of beers to something even as large as the entire baby pool that had been holding the beers.
According to Varley and the OPD, theft of over a certain amount of money becomes a felony. Typically though, smaller theft is a misdemeanor of the first degree, which results in up to six months in jail and a $1,000.00 fine.
But the potential fines and jail time aren’t deterring the thieves from stealing.
In fact, off-campus thievery is becoming a game among those who frequent house parties. Students have started to even make bets on who can bring home the best item of the night.
“People seem to think it’s funny and they like the thrill of taking something that isn’t theirs and then they get to look cool when they get to show it off to their friends,” said first-year Hannah Al-Armanzi.
Of seven different students who were interviewed, all but one admitted to taking something from a fraternity house at least once and the seventh person said she had witnessed items being taken
Al-Armanazi said although she has never taken anything she said she has witnessed people taking various items.
“It’s amazing seeing what exactly people can get out of a house. I’ve seen baby pools, guitars, a lot of alcohol and neon signs taken right out the front door,” Al-Armanazi said.
The most common items that people said they have taken or seen taken would be bottles of alcohol and fraternity composites. However, students are becoming more ambitious with the things that they do take.
A junior who wished to remain anonymous laughed when asked to list the items he has stolen from various parties.
“When I first started to take things it was small things like beer, but as I started to do it more and more, the items started to get a lot cooler. I’ve taken a lot of alcohol, a single pool ball, a lot of shot glasses, flasks, I got one with a giant cat on it, a cooler and the list goes on,” he said.
He explained why he started to take things from parties.
“It’s fun to see what all I can get without getting caught, it’s like getting a souvenir for the night. My friends and I have basically turned it into a game and whoever has the best thing wins,” he said.
However, those whose items have been stolen don’t think the thievery is all that funny.
“I’ve watched a lot of really stupid people try and steal a lot of things from our fraternity parties,” said junior fraternity Brandon Boll. “It usually happens as the night progresses or once people are asleep. They will steal about anything from small bathroom items like toilet paper to cases of beer to practically anything with fraternity letters on it.”
Although a lot is stolen from the fraternity house, he said nothing has been stolen from his room.
“Although I have never had something stolen from me particularly, we had a party last year where someone stole this huge marlin that we had on a wall and walked right out with it without any of us noticing,” said Boll.
As long as people keep their doors unlocked, the party thief will continue to come back and strike again.