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How to stay safe following the Hail Hall burglary

Some are concerned about the safety of campus residence halls.

On Jan. 22, a student reported seeing a man come into her Hail Hall dorm room and steal her wallet while she was half asleep.

Campus Security is now working with Metro Nashville Police to locate the individual who pried open the latch on the front door of the residence hall, gained access to the locked hallway and entered a student’s unlocked dorm room.

Campus Security also reminds students of things they can do to stay safe.

“While our crime rate on campus remains low, it’s important to remember that we’re in a major metropolitan area, which means we have to adopt best practices to keep ourselves safe,” head of Campus Security Pat Cunningham said.

These practices include:

Do not let people “piggyback” into buildings.

Do not prop exterior doors to buildings or rooms.

Always keep your room locked when you are away or sleeping.

Stay alert for suspicious activity and notify Security if you see something of concern.

Remain aware of your surroundings. Keep your eyes up and alert when walking.

Trust your instincts – if you feel unsafe, get to a safe location; walk confidently and with purpose away from the risk and call Campus Security or the Metro Nashville Police Department.

Report suspicious activity immediately.

The Hail Hall burglary was not the first time this school year someone got into one of Belmont’s residence halls.

In October, an individual piggybacked into Tall Hall and walked through the main doors when someone was walking out. They were caught trying to remove items from an unlocked dorm room.

“We’re continuing to work with MNPD to try to identify the individual and will continue to assess whether there may be connections between these incidents,” Cunningham said.

These incidents have led students to question if enough is being done to keep them safe in their residence halls.

“I just feel like we were promised a lot,” freshman and Hail Hall resident Gabriella Randazzo said. “At orientation they said this was a super safe campus and campus security was always on things. I feel like they broke a lot of their promises just by letting this happen.”

Before the incident, Hail Hall residents felt safe walking around their floors with their doors unlocked because they were all friends, but the incident has led students to become more cautious.

“Overall, I felt pretty safe on campus because I'm in an all-girls dorm where everyone knows each other,” freshman Hail Hall resident Elise Wallins said. “I heard about the things with creepy men and stuff, but it's always somewhere else. I didn’t think it would happen to me, but now that something has happened to me, I think about those situations more.”

Despite students' concerns, they felt Campus Security responded to the situation well.

“After the incident, Campus Security got right on it," Wallins said. “They came, fixed the doors and emailed students right away. I feel like they did a pretty good job.” This article was written by Zoe Spangler

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