The Daily Gamecock

Police encourage vigilance, registration for fall

Law enforcement offers ID services to track stolen items

Like most other university campuses around the country, USC sees greater instances of larceny once large numbers of people have returned to campus, according to Capt. Eric Grabski of the Division of Law Enforcement and Safety.


The USC Division of Law Enforcement and Safety offers several services to students and staff to help recover stolen personal property and deter potential thefts.

“Although we’re a safe campus by numbers, we do have property crime,” Grabski said. “That makes sense because we have a lot of people in a congested area.”

He encourages students to be protective and aware of their property, but also recommends taking measures to ensure recovery should theft occur.

Through the division’s Project I.D., students and staff can register personal items, including computers, cell phones and gaming systems, with campus police. Registered items are given an identifying number series and entered into a database. Once an item is registered, it stays in the database forever. Owners may also choose to have their items engraved with their identifying information.

Students should immediately report missing property to campus police, who will promptly survey the scene for details and begin investigating. In case of a theft, investigating officers are able to flag the property by its identifying numbers if it is found or if someone tries to sell it. Items that are reported stolen are also entered into a national crime database that is accessible to investigators around the country.

“If there’s an identifying mark (on your property) and you file a report, the likelihood of us finding (that item) is dramatically higher,” Grabski said.

Students and staff can also register their bicycles and mopeds with the division separately from registration with parking services. Registered vehicles are entered into a bicycle database and receive a registration sticker to display.

The Division also offers a Protect-A-Book program, which marks students’ textbooks with an invisible stamp.

If someone tries to sell a stolen textbook, local bookstores can identify the property by revealing the stamp under a black light and alerting campus officers. Grabski also recommends that students put some sort of unique marking in their books for easier identification and recovery.

These services are free, and students and staff can access these resources online or in person at the division’s headquarters. Officers also make stops in every residence hall at least once a semester to register and engrave personal items, and a table will be available for the services at Russell House Saturday for students moving in.

For a $20 charge, students can also purchase a Security Tracking of Property, or STOP, Tag for their personal items. This anti-theft tag warns potential thieves that an item is registered with the police and features a unique identifying barcode. If the tag were to be removed, it would leave a permanent mark to identify the item as stolen property.

Though campus law enforcement offers these tools to aid in property recovery, Grabski recommends that students take active measures to, first and foremost, protect their personal property.

“(Property registration is) more of a recovery tool than a preventative method ... We have to do our part in keeping our own things protected and getting involved in prevention,” Grabski said.

Grabski encourages students to lock their dorm rooms when no one is inside, keep valuables close to them or locked up and to not leave any property unattended in public areas. Students should keep their vehicles locked as well and parked in well-lit areas and keep valuables out of view in their cars.

Additionally, students should not hesitate to report suspicious people or behavior, Grabski said, as accountable bystanders are a big help to prevent crimes or capture offenders.

“I’m convinced that people who are out to steal our stuff, that even though they might blend in, people (in the area) will notice,” Grabski said.

For questions about property registration or to request for officers to set up a registration table in a dorm or at an event, students can contact Sgt. Kenny Adams of Crime Prevention and Community Relations at (803) 777-0855 or Visit the Division of Law Enforcement and Safety website at for more information on any of these services or any further questions about campus crime and safety.