Holidays and breaks are good times for relaxation and fun, but it's important to take a few minutes to prepare before you leave campus.
As distractions and time away from home increase, all types of crime occur more frequently. When preparing for the holidays, consider the following tips from the VCU Police Department.
Before leaving for break:
- Lock the doors and windows to your residence hall, house, apartment or office and take all keys with you.
- Take valuable personal property home with you. If you leave anything of value in your home or office secure it in a locked closet or cabinet.
- Prepare your vehicle for any road trips and check for any safety issues like fluid levels or tire pressure.
- If you're leaving a car on campus find a well-lit spot where you can park it, remove all valuables, and lock the doors.
- Store your bike in a legal, secure location using a U-lock.
- Talk to your roommates about when everyone is leaving and returning.
- Secure large general-use items in storage areas, save all computer files, and properly secure media according to policy.
- Unplug all appliances including computers. It's OK to turn your heat down but keep it above 50 degrees to prevent freezing.
- Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave.
- Remember to carefully discard the packaging for highly sought after items such as TVs, gaming systems etc. Leaving it on the curb, or anywhere outside the home, will be an indicator of the expensive items indoors.
- If you stay on campus, keep an eye out for any suspicious activities and call VCU Police at 828-1234 if you see anything shady.
Shopping safety tips:
VCU Police advises that shoppers be aware of their surroundings, keep an eye on people around them and shop with others. Being alone in an isolated or unlit area with expensive items and cash is just not safe.
- Avoid carrying and displaying large amounts of cash.
- Lock valuables, electronics and newly purchased items in the trunk of your vehicle.
- Park vehicles in well-lit areas and walk with other pedestrians. Have your keys in hand before walking to your vehicle.
- Keep cell phones stored away until you’re in your car; using cell phones can be distracting and high-value smartphones are a target for thieves.
- Pocket books should be held under your arm and wallets should be kept in a front pants pocket.
- Only carry as many bags and packages as you can safely. Don’t overwhelm yourself with heavy items; ask for assistance from store employees if needed.
- Place “high-value” brand bags in plain bags if possible. Thieves may target people holding bags that they believe have expensive items inside.
- If you feel uncomfortable, or see suspicious activity, return to the store immediately. Make a report to employees or security staff.
- Do not leave your vehicle running, unlocked and unattended; this will put your vehicle at a very high risk of being stolen.
Have a Happy & Safe Holiday
Most robberies occur between sunset and sunrise. As the hours of darkness increase with the holiday season, take precautionary measures to reduce your chances of becoming a robbery victim. Read the VCU Police Department’s tips for robbery prevention.