Ohio State police urge students to lock up during spring break

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Ohio State University Police said they'll step up patrols at academic buildings and residential housing while students are away on Spring Break next week, but are also urging students who live both on and off campus to take security measures to protect their property while they're gone.

Police said it's critical students take a few minutes to ensure every door and window is locked tight and said when it's possible, students should plan on taking valuables like laptops and gaming systems with them.

Police said if that's not an option, students should secure those items to the best of their ability and document serial numbers. CrimeTracker 10 searched Columbus police reports for off-campus housing during Spring Break last year and found police investigated 20 reports of theft from a motor vehicle, five stolen cars and 11 burglaries.

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Campus police said property crime reports are lower on campus because residential housing is secure, but police cautioned locked doors only work if they aren't opened to strangers.

Ohio State employee Kenyutta Dumas said too often, students want to be "nice."

"If you're behind somebody, they're going to hold the door for you. They take it as a form of courtesy and not realize that it's a safety issue," Dumas said.

Ohio State Detective Cassie Griffiths said police are urging students who remain on campus during Spring Break to stay vigilant.

"Don't feel bad about asking someone if they live there or asking the front desk to verify who they are if they don't have a Buck ID and aren't swiping in behind you," she said.

In February, surveillance cameras captured images of a man suspected of burglarizing five unlocked residence hall rooms. Police said the thief swiped electronics, gaming systems, credit cards and cash. Police said it's an example of why it's critical for students and staff who remain on and near campus during spring break to report anyone who looks suspicious or out of place.