Burglaries over break decrease for first time

The highest increase in burglaries was in 2010.

The number of burglaries over winter break decreased for the first time this year, according to a Columbia Police Department news release.

There were 66 burglaries from Dec. 15 to Jan. 28 this year, compared to 74 burglaries in 2011. Fifty-nine of these burglaries occurred in residential areas.

CPD spokeswoman Latisha Stroer said she believes burglaries in student residential areas have decreased as well.

“Our records don’t separate students, but we know from looking at that area that the burglaries have decreased,” Stroer said.

Burglaries decreased during Thanksgiving break after CPD instituted new burglary prevention measures, Stroer said. An email reminding homeowners to lock their doors and windows before leaving was part of the prevention.

“Previous efforts included a press release with burglary prevention tips as well as officers working overtime in marked and unmarked vehicles to help prevent burglaries through the city,” Stroer said.

There were no changes in the number of officers working on the burglaries, and the email was redistributed before winter break. According to the news release, the burglaries did not appear to be concentrated in a certain area of town.

From 2009 to 2012, the number of burglaries increased by between one to three burglaries each year. The highest increase in burglaries was in 2010. According to a previous article from The Maneater, the number of burglaries is at its lowest since 2009, when there were 59 burglaries.

CPD recommends taking precautions to appear at home while away. Stopping mail and newspaper services as well as putting lights and radios on timers help make a home or apartment less of a target. CPD urges residents to make sure windows and doors are locked, and the locks are working properly. Students should take portable valuables with them during breaks.

“Make it look as if you were home,” Stroer said.

If a burglary does occur, CPD encourages victims to call (573) 442-6131, the CPD non-emergency number, and write a list of missing valuables.

“It is helpful to write down your valuables with the serial number, make, model and value so that we can identify your property if found," Stroer said. "We have to prove it’s yours."

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