Ways to protect yourself and your stuff over holiday break

Off-campus safety advice for the holidays
Holiday Campus Crime

By mid-December, most colleges will look like ghost towns. Ohio State, Ohio University, Otterbein and the University of Cincinnati will take the holiday break around December 14.

And as students head home, police at the Ohio State University will head out.

“Our joint patrol officer is paired up with Columbus police walkie crews, so they patrol the east and west side of campus,” says OSU’s Interim Police Chief Kimberly Spears-McNatt.

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Spears-McNatt says while the safety message seems to be redundant year after year, it’s an important message to reiterate given the new students who call the campus area home.

“Make sure you take your valuables with you,” suggests Spears-McNatt. “Your laptops, gaming systems, electronics, anything of value.”

She also suggests students take pictures of valuables they choose to leave behind - including the serial tags. If those items are stolen, victims can try to track down the items at local pawn shops with those serial numbers.

Marisa Lally, a program manager at OSU’s Off-Campus and Commuter Student Services, says students are eligible to receive free window/door alarms and light timers anytime they want.

“Understand this is a community and the more we know each other and support each other, the more we can keep these security concerns at a minimum,” says Lally.

For students who choose to stick around during the holiday break, police say they should stay more vigilant since fewer people will be around to notice if anything goes wrong.

“Sometimes students have earbuds in so they should walk with their heads up an be aware of who’s with them,” says Spears-McNatt, as she suggested students can also use OSU’s Safe Ride program and RAVE Guardian app to better stay safe.