Theft common at Nijenborgh 4, but improved security will have to wait 

Nijenborgh 4 is suffering from a wave of thefts: wallets, laptops, and backpacks are being taken. But people will have to wait until after the move to the Feringa Building for better security.

When PhD student Marko Ovalle arrived at the lab on Tuesday morning, his work laptop was gone. His colleagues were already there, but none of them had noticed anyone suspicious.

The theft was not the only one that day. At least one other laptop and a backpack were stolen from Nijenborgh 4, the physics and chemistry building at Zernike. ‘I had my laptop secured with a laptop lock cable, but it was just ripped out’, says 25-year-old Wessel Groenhof. He had left his laptop unattended for just five minutes. 

‘Sadly, the theft of laptops and other personal items is common in the building’, says recent Hanze graduate Wessel. ‘This happens regularly’, a student from the membrane enzymology group confirms. ‘And no one’s doing anything about it.’

Free access

One of the problems is that everyone has free access to the building and the labs during the day. While offices are usually locked, non-official staff members such as exchange scientists don’t get their own office keys. ‘So they ask people around to let them in, which can create dangerous situations’, says the student.

Management is aware of the situation, according to Yvonne Nagelhout with the Nijenborgh front office, but increasing the security of the building is ‘not easily done’, she says. The purchasing department and the contract managers would have to negotiate with the security company about special conditions.

Security cameras

In spite of student requests, they won’t be installing more security cameras either, because of the scheduled move of the physics and chemistry departments to the Feringa Building next year. 

Marco feels the level of security at Nijenborgh is unacceptable. The theft of personal items is one thing, but he is more concerned about the equipment at the labs. ‘It’s scary to think what could be done with chemicals, for example. Anytime I see someone I don’t know, I always ask them who they are looking for, and what they are doing here.’

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