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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department said Friday it will begin patrolling areas with a high concentration of student housing while students are away on spring break to prevent burglaries. 

Although spring break burglary numbers were down in 2016, CPD Public Information Officer Bryana Larimer said the Patrol Division is aware burglaries are still possible.

"They will be cognizant of this while patrolling all areas, including areas with a high concentration of student housing. We would still encourage those who will be going out of town during the break to be vigilant," Larimer said.

Here are the results of burglaries in Columbia over spring break from past years:

  • 2016 - 7 residential, 1 commercial and 2 other
  • 2015 - 29 residential, 3 commercial and 1 other
  • 2014 - 26 residential, 0 commercial and 0 other
  • 2013 - 21 residential, 3 commercial and 1 other
  • 2012 - 21 residential (no data showing numbers for commercial and other)
  • 2011 - 14 residential, 1 commercial and 1 other
  • 2010 - 10 residential, 5 commercial (no data showing numbers for other)

Larimer recommends to double check and make sure all doors are closed and securely fastened. She also recommends you make it look like you are home while you are away.

"Create the illusion that you are home by using timers on lights, radios and TV’s. Make your residence appear occupied, even when no one is home, to help deter criminals," she said.

Here is a complete list of tips to try and prevent a home break-in:

  • Secure sliding glass doors by placing a metal rod or a wooden dowel rod in the track and install vertical bolts. This will help prevent burglars from forcing the door open or lifting it off the track.
  • Always lock the door to an attached garage. Don’t rely on your automatic garage door opener for security.
  • Never leave clues that you are away on a trip. Have a trusted neighbor collect mail and newspapers while you are away so delivered items do not accumulate. You can also ask a neighbor to park in your driveway or parking place to make it appear that you are present.
  • Keep some shades and blinds up and curtains open to maintain a normal, everyday appearance in your residence.