Police brace for rising crime during the holidays

Each year, students fall victim to apartment, house and car theft over winter break, and often don’t find out until they return to Eugene in January.

This year, Eugene police want to curb the property crime trend, and they’re hoping all it takes is a little more awareness.

Last week, police set up a mobile station in the Kinsrow neighborhood, where many students live in apartment complexes, and handed out flyers with basic information on how students can protect themselves from property crime. This week, police will spread awareness in the West and South University neighborhoods before students leave for the holidays. They’ll also table in front of the University bookstore today, tomorrow and Wednesday to catch students who are reselling their books before they head home.

“We’re trying to reach every possible (University) student,” said Sgt. Lisa Barrong.

Barrong said it’s crucial for students to understand the way burglars in Eugene think in order to protect their belongings. She said some students don’t think their valuables will be stolen as long as they lock their doors, but sometimes when valuables are visible, it provides burglars with an incentive to break in. Students may be more at risk this year, as property crimes increased by nearly 9 percent between January and October and tend to increase even more between Thanksgiving and the end of the year.

“Our city in general is suffering from high property crime rates.” Barrong said. “We’re worse than the country and the state per capita. But the student areas in the city always have a really high property crime rate, and with the holidays, the timing is especially bad.”
Barrong advises that students “keep their shades closed, keep the high-dollar stuff away from view” and triple-check the locks before they leave. She also advises students to keep their valuables out of sight if they throw end-of-term parties; at many campus-area parties, people will wander in from the street and see something they might attempt to steal later.

“It’s not infrequent that (students) will talk about having a party a week earlier when they report a burglary,” Barrong said.

Barrong also warned that students should not leave anything visible in cars, even umbrellas or jackets, because anything might provide a burglar with incentive to break in.

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