By Lake Front Staff
SAN ANTONIO—Crimes such as robberies, burglaries and thefts typically increase during Christmas. The shopping season makes it easy for criminals to target and prey upon folks easily distracted by the holiday hustle and bustle. With students planning their break and travel, shopping and making holiday preparations, there seems to be a rush to get in and out of stores and buildings without much thought to safety.
Still, it is important for students to take a moment and be mindful of safety during these busy times, and to take the steps they can to make themselves less vulnerable to criminals out on the prowl this time of year.
With holiday shopping, students tend to carry more money and valuables than during other times of the year. However, precautions can be taken to increase personal safety.
Walking with other students whenever possible, being aware of surroundings at all times, traveling in well-lit and populated areas, refraining from texting or talking on the phone while walking or driving, keeping cash and valuables hidden while on the street, refraining from using ear buds or headphones, and trusting your instincts are all common sense precautions students can take to help keep themselves and others safe during this time of year.
Lt. Dena Elliott, who forms part of University Campus Police, says being alert and not traveling alone is usually a deterrent to criminals.
Taking these precautions become even more important when there are fewer people on campus, such as during holiday breaks.
“Students can stay safe by walking in well-lit areas and with groups of people,” said Lt. Elliott, they should program campus police emergency numbers in their phones. Be aware of their surrounds. If they don’t have someone to walk with they can call campus police and an officer will walk them to their destination,” said Elliott.
Campus police remain accessible to students during the winter break, and while they do not provide shuttle service, they do escort students safely to their car or dorm rooms.
“Just call our non-emergency number and an officer will walk with anyone to their destination, day or night,” said Elliott. “We have officers on campus 24/7 and 365 days a year, including the holiday breaks.”
Students who choose to leave campus for the winter break should lock their rooms, offices and windows and either take computers and electronics with them or secure these devices in their rooms before leaving campus. Also, it is encouraged to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.
“If they are a victim of a crime or witness a crime they should immediately report it to campus police,” said Elliott.
OLLU campus police has compiled a holiday safety tip list to assist students, faculty and staff in safeguarding their property and keeping themselves safe, whether traveling or remaining on campus throughout the holiday season.