A series of thefts at Collegeview Commons, a Conestoga residence on Old Carriage Drive just down the road from the Doon campus, has left residents concerned for their safety.
Monica Rankin, a paramedic student, was one of the recent victims. On the night of Oct. 28, two suspects entered the parking garage and broke into Rankin’s car.
“They ripped my stereo system out of the car, they stole my speakers in my trunk, my wallet, purse and my paramedic jacket,” Rankin said.
Rankin parked her car in the garage at 10 p.m. that night. The theft occurred sometime after that.
“At least $1,500 worth of belongings was stolen from my car,” she said.
Rankin and her boyfriend discovered the break-in while they were heading to class.
When a Collegeview Commons staff member, who asked not to be named, was asked about the thefts, he said security and staff were not allowed to comment on the recent incidents.
Rankin, along with other residents, believes there is a dire lack of security in the building, leaving it vulnerable to crimes such as theft.
“There was no security at the time to deal with the issue. The Collegeview Commons staff were the only people we dealt with. It took the police a few hours to arrive. We missed class due to this whole situation,” said Rankin’s boyfriend, Scott Jeffries.
Rankin said the building staff told her they couldn’t 100-per-cent guarantee her safety.
According to Rankin, Waterloo Regional Police told her that one of the suspects is in custody while the other is still at large with a warrant out for his arrest. One of the suspects spent close to $200 on her credit card after the theft occurred.
“The police told me that the suspects were driving a stolen vehicle when they came into the parking garage, and the suspect was arrested in Guelph for another incident,” said Rankin.
Rankin said should be more security in the building.
“I’ve never seen security in the parking garage. The situation makes me not want me to go to the parking garage by myself,” she said. “If I pay $75 a month for a parking spot, there should be security there. We assume our vehicles are safe, but that seems to not be the case.”
Jordan Foreht, a business marketing student, agrees with Rankin.
“I have never seen a security body down in the parking garage,” he said. “I had a parking pass last year and was going in and out of garage. The incidents definitely concern me.”
Foreht also said there should 24-hour security at the building. Guards only come in from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. every night, he said.
“I’m not very happy about the recent events. We do pay a lot to live here, so we should be getting a higher security presence,” said Foreht. “Non-residents coming into the building and causing issues shouldn’t be happening. It’s not right.
“It seems that they only want to give students parking tickets instead of focusing on issues such as theft,” Foreht said.
Nick Gaglione, a pre-service firefighting student and a resident at the Collegeview Commons, is also concerned for his safety.
“It concerns me because I have a lot of valuable stuff in my room. They broke into vehicles in the garage; what’s stopping people from breaking into apartments? It makes me feel like there’s a lack of safety. Our vehicles should be more protected while in the parking garage,” he said.
Collegeview Commons is managed by American Campus Communities, a company based in Austin, Texas. The building is owned by a company called Drewlo Holdings Inc., a family-run business with buildings in five cities in Southwestern Ontario: Kitchener, Burlington, London, Woodstock and Sarnia.