Re: Video Thefts

Jim Glenn (
Thu, 31 Oct 1996 14:07:16 -0800


We had a similar problem here several years ago. We didn't lose any videos,
although one disappeared for several weeks and then suddenly reappeared
while I was gone on vacation, but we did have a problem with custodial and
other campus maintenance people coming into the Media Library and viewing
our videos after hours, or while we were closed when I was gone on vacation.
Over the years you learn where specific videos are suppose to be on the
shelf. One day I came to work and found about twenty videos either in the
wrong place on the shelf or not shelved at all. I could pretty well guess
which individuals were involved, but could never catch them in the act. I've
had some really great student employees over the years who would never have
been involved in this kind of thing.

We also had two breakins on two consecutive weekends. The first weekend we
lost a VHS player and the next weekend they took our Tri-Standard VHS
player. Only the player, not the monitor! There was no sign of forced entry,
so whoever got in had a key.

The solution to all of this was to put an alarm on the Media Library. In our
old facility we (I) had to do our own janitorial work. We just moved into a
brand new building (which is a whole other long story!) three days before
the Fall Quarter began, but here the custodians come in and perform their
duties before we close and set the alarm. Since we have been alarmed there
have been no more problems. Alarms are not cheap, but I think it's the only
way to really secure your University's investment. Good luck in your quest
to solve your problem!

Jim Glenn
Head, Media Library
University of California, Riverside

At 12:53 PM 10/31/96 -0800, you wrote:
>We've been experiencing a high number of video thefts during the past
>three months. They are always feature films on VHS and they are
>primarily popular titles, such as _The Terminator_ and _Seven_. This is
>extremely annoying as we often do not realize the video is missing until
>a professor comes to pick it up! We have started checking early in the
>morning of the day the video is to be picked up, as checking at the time
>the prof makes the reservation is no guarantee. Of course, many of these
>tapes are available elsewhere, but it's still a pain and it's costing us
>money to replace all these tapes (about 20 so far).
>All the tapes are shelved behind a desk so it's either student employees
>or custodial staff. We suspect the latter because students know better
>and also because when this began late last summer, we had only a few
>students working and they were all experienced and highly trusted.
>So here's my question: Have any of you dealt with this problem?
>We are considering moving all the feature films on VHS to locking
>cabinets, so we could eliminate the possibiity of theft by the
>custodians. If that doesn't work, I don't know what we will do.
>Frankly, if it's one or more student employees, we're doomed...
>Do any of you use locking cabinets to shelve any or all of your
>videocassetes? Any other suggestions?
>Help! This is annoying as well as expensive... I'm on the verge of
>shifting to 100% laserdisc for feature films, but I like the flexibility
>of having both VHS and laserdisc.
>Kristine Brancolini
>Indiana University Libraries