The West Virginia University Police Department reminds students that just because they may be on Spring Break mode that doesn’t mean crime takes a break and they need to remember to continue to use common sense and caution.
It’s not unusual for University Police and Morgantown Police to see an increase in the amount of thefts that occur to student residences during Spring Break. While law enforcement continues to be vigilant, community members need to take the initiative to protect themselves by taking simple precautions such as locking doors and windows and properly securing valuables, even if that includes taking them home, which is the safest option.
Additionally, students can protect their valuables by having certain items engraved by the Police Department. This free service makes the item less desirable to thieves and helps to get the item back to its rightful owner in the event of a theft.
The University Police will gladly engrave such things as televisions, laptops, iPods, or similar items. To participate in the program, called Operation ID, students need to simply stop into the police department and ask. Officers also routinely go around the residence halls throughout the school year to offer the program.
Also students need to be mindful of possible hidden dangers while they are at their vacation locations.
Students are cautioned about alcohol usage as it not only may lead to arrest but increase the chances of being victimized. To avoid the possibility of being drugged, students should not leave drinks unattended or accept drinks from anyone despite how friendly they may seem.
Remember, criminals seek the easiest targets and intoxicated people are easier targets!
Another thing to remember when out and about and traveling in groups: don’t share plans with strangers or discuss plans in public places.
“We are not trying to scare anyone or discourage them from enjoying their break, but they must be aware of their surroundings and remember that confidence reduces their chance of becoming a victim,” University Police Chief Bob Roberts said.
- Make photocopies of passports and credit cards if traveling internationally. Leave the copies with family and place a copy in luggage in the event the actual passport is stolen.
- Write toll-free telephone numbers of credit card companies and the U.S. State Department, so they can be contacted in the event credit cards or passport are stolen.
- When booking or checking into hotels, ask for a room between the second and seventh floor as ground floor rooms are more likely to be broken into and rooms above the seventh floor may not be readily accessible by the fire department servicing that area. Some fire departments do not have ladder trucks capable of reaching rooms in large buildings above the seventh floor.
- Check in with friends and family frequently either by telephone or even simply by using social networking sites like Facebook. This communication will not only let everyone know you are OK, you can tell them what a good time you are having on your break.
For more information about how to protect yourself regardless of your plans for Spring Break or a complete list of tips, please contact Sgt. Peggy Runyon or Sgt. Kenneth Main of the University Police Department at 304-293-3136.
CONTACT: Chief Bob Roberts; West Virginia University Police Department
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