Campus police offer safety tips to GSU students leaving for the holidays

ByDal Cannady|December 14, 2020 at 6:20 PM EST - Updated December 14 at 7:23 PM

STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - This week, more than 20,000 Georgia Southern University students in Savannah and Statesboro will leave apartments for a few weeks during the holidays.

But that can give thieves the chance to ruin the season. A host of things can distract you this week, from finishing finals to packing for the holidays. But university police say a few simple steps can lessen your chances of being a victim, starting with locking your door.

Apartments on and off campus will be empty as students leave until early next year. Last year, Statesboro police reported 17 burglaries in December into January when students returned to town.

University Police Chief Laura McCullough says they traditionally get reports of break-ins when students return.

“When we talk to them, it turns out their doors weren’t locked or their windows weren’t secured, so it made it easier for those folks who were trying to get in,” Chief McCullough said.

She says roommates need to communicate about who’s the last to leave town and who’ll be first one back. She suggests locking bedroom doors as well as the front door, and your windows, but not just with the latch.

“With windows that raise up, you put a stick like that in the window frame and it stops somebody from opening the window and coming in your place,” Chief McCullough said.

She encourages people to take valuables with them or securing them with a friend who’s not leaving town. She says a few minutes now can save a lot of aggravation later.

“Most of the break-ins we see are crimes of opportunity because people don’t take the 5-10 minutes to take the extra safety measures before they leave,” Chief McCullough said.

Chief McCullough says university police will be on patrol even heavier during the holidays in Statesboro and Savannah.

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Photo: Getty Images

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