How to keep the ‘break-in’ out of spring break

Editor’s note: This is part of a package on spring break. Also see Traveling presents unique safety risks and What to do if you’re stuck in town while your friends get drunk in Cancun.

After experiencing break-ins and coming home to her belongings strewn across her apartment floor, environmental studies and agriscience senior Liz Banach knows the dangers of an unwatched home.

But Banach and thousands of other students will leave their homes unattended next week — a dream for thieves also hoping for a good spring break.

An armed robbery and an attempted mugging occurred last spring break, and 30 break-ins and thefts occurred during this year’s winter break.

Some students put stickers for security companies on windows, although they don’t have a security system, and leave the lights on to ward off thieves.

Before you go:

? Make sure you not only lock your doors, but also lock your windows, which could be an access point for robbers.

? Close your blinds so potential thieves can’t see what your home has to offer.

? Don’t leave anything important or valuable sitting out, and bring them with you if you can to minimize harm from a potential break-in.

? If you can, put a timer on a light in your home so it will automatically turn on and off and give the appearance someone is home.

? Ask the post office to hold any mail or newspapers. Having a pile of magazines sitting on your stoop could be an invitation to thieves wondering if you’re home.

? Ask a friend staying in the area to stop by your home occasionally to make sure everything is all right.

? Have a neighbor or friend shovel snow off your sidewalks and walkways. You can be fined between $25 and $125 by the city if snow isn’t removed from walkways on your property before midnight the day it snows — if it snowed before noon — or before midnight the following day if it snows after noon.

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