Wave of Theft Hit MIT Dorms; MIT Police Have Made Arrests

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE: This article incorrectly framed a statement made by MIT Police Chief John DiFava that “We believe these two actions will directly impact the number of thefts on campus.” “These two actions,” actually refers to one arrest and one instance of charges planning to be pressed for criminal activity, not two arrests, as the article suggests.

Seventy-nine thefts, including 24 laptops and 18 bicycles, have been reported on the MIT campus this term. Derek Correira was arrested in Baker House on Oct. 22 for stealing a laptop.

Many of these thefts, which doubled in frequency between September and October, have taken place in the dorms along Amherst Alley.

One of the stolen laptops has been recovered.

There have been two other arrests recorded on MIT’s police log for suspicious activity and trespassing.

In a statement to the MIT News Office, John DiFava, Chief of MIT Police, wrote: “The increased number of thefts on campus in September and October is of concern to us, and our patrol staff and detectives have worked hard to understand the reasons for the increase and devise strategies to address them.”

Regarding two of the arrests for criminal activity, DiFava wrote, “We believe that these two actions will directly impact the number of thefts on campus. And as we further investigate this issue, we will draw upon the same police practices that have proven very effective in reducing theft at MIT … The recent uptick in thefts has the full attention of the MIT Police.”

The number of burglaries reported by MIT to the Department of Education fell each year between 2005, when 289 thefts were reported, and 2008, when 86 thefts were reported.