Sunday morning on the 16th of September, exchange student Katinka Rédei and her roommates had their kitchen raided. Now they won’t forget to lock their kitchen.
– They raided everything and took whatever they wanted from our kitchen. They even stole our garbage bin. They left the trash in the kitchen, and probably used the bin to transport the stolen goods, says Hungarian NHH exchange student Rédei.
Thefts in the F-block at Hatleberg is nothing new. Several thefts from the block has happened this year: most being unreported. Last year theft was also a problem in the F-block and students wanted cameras installed. Some students even call the F-block “The Favela”, referring to the slum in Rio de Janeiro, where crime rates are sky high.
Rédei and her collective friends think that there were more than one thief in their kitchen, and that they were organized.
– Just because of the amount of items stolen. Everything from chocolate, frozen pizzas, dairy products. Even opened milk was stolen. The robbery probably happened between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday morning, she says.
– Our roommate from Australia had just had her parents over, bringing food and groceries from Australia, and she lost most of the food brought from Australia, Rédei explains.
The estimated loss in Rédeis kitchen was around 1000 kroner. Despite searching through all the other kitchens in the block, and posting a Facebook-post in the exchange student group, the belongings of their kitchen have not been found.
Locks the kitchen door
Rédei explains that the door to the kitchen was not locked when the kitchen got raided.
– Now we lock the door to the kitchen all the time. I still think we should have been told more clearly how important it is to lock the kitchen door.
Norunn Johanne Økland, international relations coordinator at NHH, is well aware of the problem of theft:
– It’s a continuing problem every year. As long as people keep the doors open to the hallways and the kitchen, it will not stop, says Økland.
– If I could choose the headline of this article, it would be something like: “— Keep the doors locked: you never know who you might invite”. I cannot stress this enough.
Økland thinks that NHH has communicated the importance of locking the kitchen doors sufficiently to the new exchange students.
– We communicate the importance of locking the doors during the info meetings at the beginning of the semester, she explains.
– The entry doors to the F-block is often left open, so it’s possible that outsiders come into the building and steal. We can’t tell what proportion of the cases are organized as we don’t have data on it. I know that many of the thefts are left unreported, Økland says.
Økland further says it could be wise to store expensive belongings like coffee machines and stereo equipment in the rooms, and only bring these items to the kitchen when using it.
Only two reported cases
Marita Monsen, head of communications in Sammen, says that in general, theft, especially food related, occurs both in shared kitchens and from private collectives in the city centre. But it is rather uncommon that these thefts are reported to Sammen.
– When we searched through our systems, we could only find two reported food related thefts this year in the Hatleberg F-block, Monsen writes in an email to K7 Bulletin.
To prevent theft, and especially food theft, Sammen encourage students to lock the doors and lockers, both in shared kitchens and elsewhere in the building.
– Often our janitors find doors that are only possible to open with a key being left open because they are obstructed with rocks or wooden blocks, Monson explains.
If this is found, the janitors will remove the obstruction. Cleaning personnel also checks for open doors weekly. If there are any problems with shared kitchens, Sammen suggests to contact Sammen, so that the problem can be solved.
– When it comes to reporting the crimes, the student have to report thefts on their own belongings themselves. We report damage to our property.
Monsen says that Sammen can not see any correlation between the proportion of international student and thefts, compared to student housing with Norwegian students.
Should be reported
Norunn Økland from NHH recommends reporting every incident of theft to Sammen, even if it’s not very serious, so that they can get a better overview of the frequencies of theft. Serious cases should always be reported to the Police.
– If you know of theft, or someone who is stealing, don’t hesitate to come to us or Sammen, so that we can help, she says.