The fall semester at West Virginia University ends following finals week on Dec. 17, and University Police offers tips to make sure you have a safe holiday season whether you’re staying in Morgantown or traveling home for Winter Break.

Incidents of theft on campus increase at this time of year, according to Jefferie Wright, crime prevention specialist for University Police. To prevent thefts of your belongings, make sure they are properly secured even with leaving your property for a few minutes.

“Don’t leave valuables, including holiday packages, unattended and in plain view,” Wright said. “Eliminating the opportunity is the key to crime prevention.”

Students living in on-campus residence halls are expected to vacate their residence hall rooms within 24 hours of their last final to ensure a quiet environment for those still studying. University residence halls will officially close on Dec. 18 at noon, and they will not reopen until Jan. 10 at noon:

All students can leave belongings in their residence hall room but should take any valuable items they may need over break home with them.

During Winter Break, students will not be permitted into their rooms nor will they have access to their mailboxes. This does not apply to students living in College Park Apartments or University Place Apartments.

Prior to leaving, students should lock valuables in their closet or take the valuables home, close and lock their windows, close the curtains, empty their trash and unplug appliances such as hair dryers and curling irons. If they have rented a MicroFridge, please leave it plugged in to prevent food from spoiling. Finally, students should make sure their room door is closed and locked when leaving.

When traveling out of town for the holiday, University Police offers these tips for students living in off-campus housing:

  • Take out your trash and clean up before leaving.
  • Take valuable items with you when you leave town.
  • Keep your heat on during break, just set it at a lower temperature than you normally would, to avoid pipes freezing/bursting in case of frigid temperatures. Landlords generally require a minimum thermostat setting in winter months.
  • Ask a neighbor to watch your house or apartment and ask them to park in your driveway or space from time to time.
  • Use automatic timers for your lights.
  • Stop your mail and newspaper deliveries.
  • Arrange to have snow shoveled while you’re away.
  • Upon returning to Morgantown, students should immediately report any theft or incident that is suspicious in nature to authorities.

University Police offer the following tips to help reduce problems if traveling by car for the holidays:

  • Many accidents occur due to restless drivers, so plan your trip in advance and get plenty of rest.
  • Wear your seatbelt, bring sufficient money for gas and plan to take extra emergency money for unexpected problems.
  • Let your parents or family members know when you’re leaving and when they should expect you to arrive. If you’re delayed for any reason, let them know you’ll be late. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged.
  • Make a point to have your vehicle winterized to include tires, wipers, a charged battery and fluids. If you have car problems, pull well off the roadway, activate your emergency flashers, stay in your car, raise your hood and place a piece of cloth out of the window to alert an officer that you need assistance.
  • Avoid aggressive driving or aggressive drivers. Avoid following too closely and always try to leave a large safety cushion between your vehicle and the vehicles around you.
  • Respect the speed limits and traffic laws.
  • Reduce your speed to compensate for changing road conditions, and leave your headlights on – even in the daylight. Weather conditions can change quickly and without warning. Slushy or wet road surfaces can turn to ice in a matter of minutes and road surfaces such as bridges tend to freeze more quickly than other road surfaces.
  • Trust your instincts, if something does not look or feel right, it probably isn’t.



CONTACT: University Relations/News

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