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Police Urge Residents To Safeguard Homes Before Spring Break

by on March 07, 2014 6:45 AM

With spring break starting, students and residents are gearing up to leave town and spend a worry-free week away from work and classes.

In all the excitement, you might forget about safeguarding your home -- leaving yourself exposed to property loss and damage.

An investigation by State College police conducted last month revealed the majority of forced entry burglaries occur during breaks in the academic year at Penn State.

Ryan Reichlin, 39, of State College, and Aaron Klinger, 24, were arrested last month in connection to 24 burglaries that occurred over Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. Both men remain incarcerated in the Centre County Correctional Facility and await trial.

Sergeant Frances Pollack, who oversees crime prevention and community education for Penn State police, says it's imperative that residents take proper precautions to keep their homes safe from burglars while they're out of town.

"We have people who take advantage of people in State College that are going to be away," says Pollack. "Just an extra set of eyes on your home helps."

Pollack recommends locking all doors and windows, making sure each one is repaired and fully functional. All mail and newspaper delivery should be stopped, since a large pile of papers outside a doorstep makes it painfully obvious nobody is home. Leaving a small light on inside and providing sufficient lighting around doors and entrances is also a good way to prevent an attempted break-in.

In addition to keeping valuable items and electronics (like iPads, computers, smartphones) with you when you leave, Pollack warns against announcing departures and vacation dates on social media. Even if you only communicate online with friends and family, she says it's important to realize that information is public, and can be accessed by anybody.

To combat any break-in attempts on campus, Pollacks says Penn State police will conduct extra building and dorm checks and have patrol cars monitor campus streets and parking lots.

"If someone is looking to burglarize an area, and they see a police car driving by, they're less likely to try and steal something," says Pollack.

The State College Police Department is asking the public to be vigilant and to report any and all suspicious activity immediately. Suspicious behavior may include:

  • Unknown persons knocking on doors of houses or apartments for no apparent reason or knocking on doors of multiple houses or apartments
  • Occupied vehicles parked in alleyways or along the street for an extended period of time
  • Vehicles driving down a street or through a neighborhood slowly or driving down a street or through a neighborhood several times
  • Persons inexplicably loitering in a residential area.

To report a crime or any suspicious activity, call 911 or the State College Police Department at (814)-234-7150. You can contact Penn State police at (814)-863-1111.

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C.J. Doon is a frequent contributor to Onward State. A Long Island native, Doon is studying print journalism at Penn State.
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