The Daily Gamecock

South Quad faces theft problems

Broken locks leave security concerns

The USC Police Department has issued a crime alert warning South Quad residents of thefts believed to be caused by individuals entering through propped outside doors.

One student says the real problem is that those outside doors don't lock properly — and haven't done so since the semester began.

Second-year psychology student Amber Morgan said she has informed her Residence Life coordinator, USCPD, University Facilities and University Housing of the problem, but her complaint has fallen on deaf ears.

In a tour of South Quad Monday, Morgan explained to The Daily Gamecock that the main outside door to the south side of the building doesn't lock nonresidents out after 10 p.m. like it is supposed to.

Morgan then pried open an indoor door on the south side of the building with her fingers, a door that is only supposed to be accessible with a CarolinaCard. The door gives access to the south side and an elevator, which can be used to reach the north side of the building.

"Anybody can actually walk in here; it's ridiculous," Morgan said. "People don't lock their doors because they feel safe because of the security guard. They think the doors are locking."

Residence hall security guards are not supposed to leave their desks and don't carry weapons. Morgan says she is able to walk through the entire building a 3 a.m. without a CarolinaCard.

South Quad roommates Alec Whitmeyer, a second-year marine science student, and Brian King, a second-year business student, also said the outside door to the south side of the building doesn't lock late at night. They said they were amazed a thief stole their trash can instead of their PlayStation 3 or 32-inch high-definition television. They said three roommates on the north side of the building had their computers stolen, and that their resident mentor warned of a thief impersonating a maintenance employee.

Law Enforcement and Safety Capt. Eric Grabski said there have been four reported thefts at South Quad this year. Once inside the building, suspects are seeking unlocked dormitory rooms and common areas where students leave their computers and electronics. Grabski said USCPD received a complaint last week and immediately forwarded it Housing. Morgan said her calls to Facilities were forwarded back to Housing.

Housing spokeswoman Colleen Mullis did not provide a comment from Housing Monday, citing difficulties in getting information during the department's move to a new location.

"I spoke to [Facilities], and they are evaluating all the doors and are addressing any issues that need to happen," Mullis said. "I do know that they're working on the doors today."

Personnel were seen working on the exterior doors Monday afternoon, after Housing had been contacted by The Daily Gamecock about the problem. A check shortly after 10 p.m. Monday found the exterior door to be locked, but the inside door still opened without a CarolinaCard.

Morgan also said a fire exit door on bottom of the south side stairwell of the building repeatedly jams. The door was working properly Monday afternoon, and it was unclear whether work had been done on the exit. Morgan said she planned to contact the fire marshal.

"Nobody's done a dadgum thing, and I'm getting a little pissed," Morgan said.
Grabski urged residents to lock their personal dormitory rooms.