Holiday break means food, family and felonies with rise in Huntsville crime

The sound of feet-tapping coming from under the desks on the last day of finals says it all–students are ready for the end of the semester. They are ready to leave class, pack-up, pump gas and head home for the holidays.

In all the rush and excitement of the holidays, the University Police Department reminds students of others that are lurking close, just as anxious to begin their holiday season of larceny and looting.

“Towards the end of the semester, we tend to see an increase in property crimes. [We] ask people to be aware of where they keep property that is not secured or unattended,” Police Chief Kevin Morris said. “On campus, make sure not to leave items of personal property same thing in vehicles.”

Lieutenant Trey Holloway explains why crime is more prevalent at the end of the semester.

“Students are packing up, leaving, moving back and forth. Cars are packed and left unattended so that makes [some students] easy victims,” Holloway said. “As people move in and out of the dorms they are moving so much sometimes they lose track of their stuff and it’s picked up and taken.”

Dorms are not the only targets.

“When students who live off-campus are gone with no one in their apartment, apartment complexes are left nearly vacant, so it is easy to break into apartments with no one there watching them,” Holloway said. “If you are going to be leaving and you have a friend that is going to stay in town ask them to check up on your apartment.”

According to UPD statistics updated weekly since Aug. 1, 2008 to present, theft is the most prevalent crime on-campus, with over 28 recorded cases.

Despite the statistics, Holloway said SHSU does not have a large problem with theft. He said that this university’s theft rates are not above average.

If someone sees something suspicious, he or she should call the police.

“If they do see anything suspicious like people walking around parking lots and pulling on door handles, they should call us,” Holloway said. “They need to try their best to get a physical description and a clothing description of the person. If they see them leave in any one direction, a direction of travel also helps us. Be able to explain exactly what their activities were.” Holloway said.

Holloway advises students to use caution when packing for the end of the semester.

“Always keep your doors locked even to your dorms,” Holloway said. “Do not pack your car the night before you leave. Pack the day of, and when you come back to school unpack your car that day, and don’t leave a lot of items in your car.”

He also said to use precautionary measures, just in case something unavoidable happens.

“Anything of value, please have the model number and serial number written down and stored so that if it is taken, we can help locate it,” he said. “Without that information, it makes it practically impossible to prove it was yours if we do find it.”

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