College Students Risk Undiscovered Burglaries

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department said burglaries increase over the winter intersession because burglars target students and families traveling for the holidays. As college students return for the start of the spring semester, some students risk discovering they've been burglarized.

Columbia College students will resume classes Monday after a four-week academic break. MU students are scheduled to begin January 21.

Two fraternity houses near MU's campus were burglarized at an unidentified time in December. The break-in and damages were not discovered immediately.

Columbia Police Officer Latisha Stroer said police are working additional hours to prevent a hike in the number of break-ins during the holidays.

"During Thanksgiving break, Christmas break and spring break we have officers that are working overtime to try to prevent burglaries from occurring in residential and student areas," said Officer Stroer.

She said burglaries are common while students and residents are not occupying their residence.

"Christmas break is the longest break that we have out of the three breaks that we cover and so we do see a higher number during Christmas. I know last year we had a decrease in burglaries reported and we're hoping this year to see that happen as well," Stroer said.

Officer Stroer said the Columbia Police Department gave students tips on how to keep their items and residents safe.

She said the location of burglaries vary during students' holiday break. Officer Stroer also said police have noticed students are no longer living in one concentrated area, therefore no one specific area is targeted.

Police caution residents to call 9-1-1 if anything seems out of place upon arrival from vacations and holiday travels. Officer Stroer said police should be notified before entering a residence if a window is open, screens are torn or doors are unlocked.