GVPD warns against “Devious Licks” on campus


GVL / Rachel Slomba

Hanna Halstead, Staff Writer

TikTok, the video-sharing social media platform which has only grown in popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic, has come under criticism for a new trend known as “devious licks.”

The idea behind “devious licks” is simple: steal something from around your school, take it home and make a video revealing the theft. The item stolen can be virtually anything from a traffic cone to an entire bathroom stall. 

The trend first started when, on September 6, a TikTok user posted a video of a stolen hand sanitizer dispenser with the caption, “only a month into school and got this absolute ‘devious lick.’” This video has since inspired more people to steal their own “devious licks,” the likes of which have gone further than just hand sanitizer dispensers.

Grand Valley State University has had its own share of “devious licks,” according to GVPD Chief Jeff Stoll. Many students want their five seconds of fame on TikTok, thinking the trend is harmless and don’t see an issue with something small being stolen. However, there are some serious consequences both for the participants involved and those that fall victim as a result.

One example would be the theft of traffic cones and the big GVSU letters that rest on the lawn near Kirkhof.

“We are concerned, even though it seems relatively minor, that there are repercussions to the TikTok trends that some people choose to follow,” Stoll said. “These thefts could be used to block roadways and buildings, effectively impeding traffic and preventing people from leaving a building.”

A more dangerous example would be the theft of manhole covers. If it is dark outside or there is low visibility, someone might not notice the absent manhole cover and could potentially fall in and seriously injure themselves.

A lot of students, when participating in these trends, have the misconception that they won’t be caught. 

“We have a large number of cameras around campus, covering a lot of areas,” Stoll said. “So if people are choosing to make these decisions, it’s very likely that we will see it.”

Stoll said that students participating in the trend fail to recognize the potential consequences for themselves, others and the university when they steal something from GVSU. Additionally, Stoll said the trend is unfair to other GVSU students and a poor way to represent the university.

“The impact of those decisions is more significant than they may think, they are potentially creating safety hazards for their fellow students and the community,” Stoll said. “They are also inflicting damage that needs to be paid for, and it could fall on the university to pay if the perpetrators are unable to be identified, it’s an unnecessary cost that the university may have to bear.”

Most of these incidents happen on the weekend, and the use of alcohol is usually suspected, Stoll said. If you happen to witness one of these “devious licks” taking place or happen upon the results, GVPD asks you to contact them using a non-emergency number to report the incident.