Police advise students on holiday precautions

Grace Huseth

Last spring break, students came back to their dorms expecting to find everything in its place, but that wasn’t the case for multiple Georgia Southern University students.

“Last spring break we had four or five burglaries in one resident hall. One or two students stayed and wandered up and down the halls looking for unlocked doors,” Chief of Public Safety Department Mike Russell, said.

With the end of fall semester coming to a close and the upcoming breaks, University Police urge students to avoid break-ins by making sure their dorms or apartments are completely locked up.

“Make sure your windows are closed and locked. Make sure everything is locked up and secure,” Russell said.

“Our biggest challenge on campus is what amounts to misdemeanor theft, which is property under fifteen hundred dollars,” Russell said.

Last year there were two break-ins over Thanksgiving break and none over winter break, Russell said.

This past Thanksgiving break there was only a small incident of missing change at Freedom’s Landing with no forced entry. Always locking doors can prevent even these small burglaries, Russell said.

The items typically stolen are electronics, cell phones, laptops and jewelry, Russell said.

“It’s a good idea to write down the serial numbers of your electronics and laptops just in case,” Russell said.

He also advises that students engrave their driver’s license number on their bikes so that those can be returned to them.

Locations that are prone to theft are the library and RAC. Zach S. Henderson Library will be busy during finals week, so don’t leave books unattended and watch your bags, Russell said.

It is important to keep wallets and keys close while exercising rather than leaving them on a nearby bench, Russell said.

Car theft is popular and requires more prevention than just locking your doors. Many people think they are being safe by leaving purses and shopping bags in the trunk, yet thieves often watch parking lots to see which cars have valuables recently added, Russell said. It’s also important hide items like cell phone chargers as they can be a sign that there are other valuables in the car.

Police are reliable when it comes to responding to the recent on-campus crimes, Maria Lindsey, senior middle grades education major and community assistant at Eagle Village, said.

“They are always quick to respond. Even though the residents may not always see it, the police are always around checking on things,” Lindsey said.

“I feel safe being able to leave at any point in the day or night. I can just walk out not having to worry about anything when I leave. We do have key cards so it’s not like any local can just enter through,” Garrett Fischer, freshman undeclared major and Eagle Village resident, said.

“Overall, on campus, it’s pretty safe around here. Police are always present, and you have your eagle ID’s that allows only you access through the facilities and not non-residents,” Jerry Timberlake, sophomore exercise science major and Eagle Village community leader, said.

With lack of cameras in Kennedy, there are chances for things to go missing, Jerrean Hughes, freshman political science major and Kennedy resident, said.

“There are no cameras on the second and third floors of the building. People are always walking out of each others’ rooms,” Hughes said.

Russell says that the best prevention is to be aware.

Russell said, “Everybody needs to be better neighbors.”

Isaac Carrasco contributed to this report.