Chief of UPD comments on burglaries at the Flats

Hayley Simonson, Police Reporter

UNFPD’S Director of Police and Public Safety, Chief Mackesy, addressed the importance of watching out for each other and staying safe on campus following the two burglaries at The Flats residence hall. 

Chief Mackesy said, “It’s as simple as locking your windows and doors.” 

According to the two police reports in conjunction with the burglaries, both victims and their roommates said they believed their doors were left unlocked at the time of the break-ins. There were no signs of forced entry. Chief Mackesy said that it is every person’s right to leave the door unlocked, but there are people who will look for weaknesses. 

When asked if he thought the burglaries had to do with an issue with the university’s overall safety, Chief Mackesy said UNF is one of the top safest campuses of all the U.S campuses in the state when it comes to crime.

In 2019, The University of North Florida was ranked as one of the safest college campuses in the nation, according to a study from the National Council for Home Safety and Security.

Mackesy says a lot of that safety has to do with how responsible UNF students are in doing the right thing.

When it comes to safe living on campus and preventative measures, the chief of police advises to lock your doors and windows and avoid leaving your valuables unattended or in plain sight in a vehicle parked outside your residence. 

“With everything that is going on with COVID, we don’t have as many people on campus as we normally would because most of the classes have been moved online. It’s really important that those of us that are left here, keep an eye out for each other, and continue safe practices,” said Mackesy. “So basically if you see something, say something. And don’t be afraid. I’d rather you call us 100 times and not need it, then not call us one time when you do need us.”

According to Chief Mackesy, “If you see something suspicious, or you see someone hanging around bike racks or skateboard racks or walking through apartments that you don’t recognize, call us. We are happy to check it out, that’s what we are here for.”

He could not disclose specific details and police tactics surrounding the ongoing investigation, but said that The Flats is an important area of UPD’S attention.