As students begin to leave for spring break and face-to-face class cancellations due to COVID-19, the IUPolice Department and the Bloomington Police Department provide tips on how students can prevent burglaries while they are gone.
“The main thing I tell students is if you can make your apartment look like there is somebody there, that’s the best thing to do,” IUPD Deputy Chief Shannon Bunger said.
He recommends students put timers on their lights and make them come on at different times everyday throughout the break. They can stop mail from coming in so it doesn’t pile up, or have a trusted neighbor pick it up for you.
“People who are breaking in are generally locals,” Bunger said. “They know where the students live.”
If the property is an IU rental, students can contact IUPD and they will send out extra patrols knowing that people in that house are gone, Bunger said.
“Greek housing, because that is on campus, our officers are patrolling that constantly,” Bunger said. “The fraternity and sorority houses are pretty secure.”
If a student comes back to campus and their home has been broken into, they should not go inside. Instead students should call IUPD or BPD and let them clear the house first, Bunger said.
Bunger also said students should not leave anything that is valuable in plain sight in a car and try to leave the car parked under a streetlight.
Bunger said if students own a bike, scooter or skateboard, they should take it with them or put it in a safe place, such as their room.
“If you leave it outside, there’s a good chance it won’t be there when you get back,” Bunger said.
BPD Capt. Ryan Pedigo said in an email that many of the tips that BPD provides students are not used, which results in them becoming victims of burglaries and thefts.
Students should put valuables away and ensure doors and windows are locked prior to leaving, according to the email.
Junior Tatum Barton, who lives in a house off campus in a highly populated student area, said she is comfortable in the area that she lives in and that there haven’t been any major robberies in that area. But her and her roommates still take precautionary measures before leaving campus for breaks.
“I’m not super concerned,” Barton said. “But my roommates and I always make sure that we lock up important things and put anything valuable out of sight.”