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Report Finds Unlocked Doors

By Eduardo E. Santacana, Crimson Staff Writer

A walk-through of upperclass Houses by the College Safety Committee (CSC) has found that large numbers of students leave their doors unlocked during the day, including more than 30 percent of rooms in Currier House and 40 percent in Winthrop.

The findings, presented to the committee at a meeting on Friday, also showed that few rooms were unlocked in dorms where doors are set to automatically lock themselves—fewer than 10 in Quincy House, for example—prompting the committee to skip walk-throughs on the remaining auto-locking dorms.

“I was really surprised to see how many people did not disable their locks,” said Jane Fang ’08, a CSC student representative. “On the opposite side of that spectrum, one of the towers in Currier probably had about 75 percent of its doors unlocked. If Currier and Winthrop could be changed to auto-locking doors, I think that would be great because it seems to work.”

Students who performed the walkthroughs slipped congratulatory notes under locked doors. Rooms with unlocked doors received notes containing information about the possibility of theft and assault and the importance of keeping doors locked—even when students are inside their rooms.

“Overall, the campaign was really successful and I think we accomplished our main objective of creating awareness of locking doors,” said Fang. “There was a lot of buzz from the notes we slipped under doors.”

At the meeting, Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) Chief Francis “Bud” Riley said he was glad the committee took on March as “lock-your-door” month. He said the results explain why forced entry is rare on campus: would-be criminals find it easier to find an unlocked door than breaking into a locked room.

The committee will also perform a walkthrough of Dunster House and the DeWolfe buildings—whose doors, like those in Currier and Winthrop Houses, do not auto-lock-—this week to see if the results differ.

The committee has designated April as “no-piggybacking” month. Over the next few weeks, administrators will place information in campus newsletters to educate students on the subject. The blurbs will include helpful hints on how to politely approach a “piggy-backer”—someone who attempts to enter a building by having a resident swipe them in—and examples of how students have improved campus safety by monitoring those entering their buildings.

The committee also discussed a new form of student outreach organized by the Undergraduate Council Student Affairs Committee (SAC). Aaron D. Chadbourne ’06, SAC chair and one of the CSC’s student representatives, said the UC will solicit student feedback on safety issues preceding each CSC meeting.

Results gathered so far show students are concerned about poor lighting in various areas on campus, long wait times for shuttles late at night, and pedestrian safety on Mt. Auburn Street.

—Staff writer Eduardo E. Santacana can be reached at

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