December 11, 2014

How to: crime-proof your dorm for winter break

uofl campus crime

By David Cecil–

The end of the semester: time for the finals stress and overall desire to catch up with the sleep we lost during the test-laden, project-heavy semester. While many of us will go straight to our friends and loved ones as soon as break starts, there’s a few things to take care of before leaving the university or apartment for break.

A few dozen things, actually, all that happen to be inside your humble dorm, apartment or house.

For those of us that remember “Home Alone,” even the overly ambitious yet not so graceful crooks knew the holidays were the best time to get their theft on. And since we more than likely don’t want to throw a few paint cans into anyone’s face, here are a few pointers to keeping the home away from home safe during your winter break.

• Nothing says house vulnerability like a vacated region for days on end. With little to any foot traffic around your stomping grounds, opportunity could come knocking down your door or through your window while away.

U of L Police’s Assistant Chief of Police Kenny Brown suggested that you simply give your landlord, neighbors or RA a heads up to when you leave. That way, any movement around the homestead will be more suspicious looking.

If you really want to feel secure, have your neighbor or close friend that’s staying around town check in on your house, or even take care of some chores inside for a few minutes every day. This gives the look the place is actually being lived in, and is only as costly as whatever favor your friend ask for in return.

• Light it up: Giving a house a sense of being lived in, even while away, instantly deters would-be assailants. Yet, we probably don’t want every light and television on in our houses while away, chewing through the electric bill before the supposed second winter vortex comes crashing in.

Brown gave another easy, though often glossed over solution to this: timed lighting. Merely putting a select few lights on timers can give the house a sense of being used, and thus keeping you from coming back to a not-so-fortunate crime surprise when returning for the spring semester

• Lock it up and tuck away: Yes, most likely the “duh,” part of this list, but even then the simplest task is pushed to the wayside. Make sure those barriers that make your house your house and not an extension of the outside are secure. If a would-be robber tests a door and feels even the slightest give in it, that just raises incentive to go for the big break-in even more so.

Furthermore, keep those enticing thoughts of robbery away from your home by keeping cherished and expensive items out of sight. Close the curtains, push the computer monitors and entertainment systems out of sight from the outside. Our unintentional flaunts to the world that we have items of interest will go unheard, and prevent your winter break from taking a dark turn.

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