Winter break provides students with a month to visit family, spend time with friends and, perhaps most importantly, recharge for another 16 weeks of academics.
For the second straight year, the Department of Public Safety is implementing an aggressive regiment of tactics with an aim of keeping Syracuse University students and their belongings safe, and for good reason. With the vast majority of students leaving their houses, apartments and dorm rooms, prospective burglars would appear to have open range.
Public Safety crime logs indicate around 56 different larceny and burglaries occurred between December 2004 and the end of January 2005. Approximately 21 such crimes occurred between December 2005 and January 2006.
Public Safety has teamed up with the Office of Residence Life, College Crime Watch and Off Campus Student Services among others to get the word out to students about how best to prevent a burglary from happening to them while home for the holidays.
‘Most people don’t think they’re going to be a victim of a crime until they are,’ said Public Safety Lt. John Sardino. ‘They think the best of people. And they are vulnerable (because of) that.’
Public Safety’s efforts to limit burglaries during break include individually checking each South Campus apartment’s doors, Sardino said.
Residence halls are of less priority, due to a combination of fewer people entering the building and internal security systems, he said.
The information printed on door hangers to be distributed to various places on campus may seem like common sense to most, but Executive Assistant to the Director of Public Safety Jill Lentz said the importance should not be underscored.
‘As a parent, I’m the one who locks the house every night,’ Lentz said. ‘There are a lot of students that do have that sense but for a lot of first timers, there are some things they might miss.’
Starting Friday, Public Safety will give away electric timers, those that allow electrical equipment like lamps to turn on at specific times to create the illusion of an occupied home, to the first 50 students who visit the Off Campus Student Services office. An additional 50 electric timers will be made available on Wednesday.
Conventional wisdom such as keeping lights on probably isn’t the best idea, Sardino said, but then admitted, ‘We don’t generally deal with a lot of sophisticated burglars.’
Both Lentz and Sardino stressed the importance of locking the doors and windows, citing that the majority of burglaries occur without much effort.
‘Sometimes we have problems, especially on South Campus, when roommates (don’t communicate) and are not locking the door,’ Lentz said.
Some students, however, pay little attention to Public Safety’s warnings.
‘I don’t really take any precautions out of the ordinary,’ said Justin R. Elyachar, a senior finance major who lives on Clarendon Street. ‘I probably should.’
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