By Michael Noble
The holiday break season is the most likely time for a student’s residence to be burglarized.
According to Palm Beach Atlantic University Safety and Security data, burglaries are most likely to occur in the months of November and December. In 2006, the most recent data available, more than half of the 21 burglaries reported occurred during these months.
With these statistics in mind, PBA officials urge students to take certain precautions when getting ready for the holiday seasons.
“Prevention of course is the key to minimizing the opportunity for a thief to victimize,” said Terry Wheeler, PBA’s director of Safety and Security. “And this can be accomplished by taking the time to lock valuables up and keep them out of sight.”
Resident Assistants like Dale Gault of Baxter Hall are doing their part as well.
“Residence Life and the RA staff are doing the best they can to inform our students how to properly protect their belongings over the holidays,” he said.
Soon Gault and other Residence Life staff will meet with their students to discuss how to secure their rooms properly, including detailed instructions unique to each dormitory.
Residents in halls like Towers and Lakeview should take extra precaution to secure their belongings by locking and wedging all doors and windows shut.
“A criminal looks for the opportunity to commit a crime.” Wheeler said. “Awareness and prevention lessen the chances of a crime occurring.”
However, PBA’s campus will not go unwatched over break.
“We will have a regular staff 24 hours each day of the holiday breaks,” Wheeler said, adding that campus safety will make regular rounds and inspections to ensure the integrity of the residence halls.
But PBA student Jessica Moore will be taking extra steps, she says, to keep all of her belongings in her possession this season.
“I have already had my bike stolen and it has been unsuccessfully recovered,” Moore said. “I will be taking all my essentials home with me, and I’ll be locking everything else up tight as a drum. The last thing I need is for something like my laptop or my favorite pair of shoes to get stolen.”
Here are a few helpful tips Wheeler recommends to help guard your belongings over the break:
• Make sure windows are closed and locked.
• Check that your curtains or blinds are closed.
• Keep your valuables stashed out of sight.
• Unplug all of your appliances and defrost your refrigerator.
• Lock and secure all doors.
• Engrave or mark all valuable personal property with your name and phone number, and keep an inventory of these items.
• Lock your bike or move it indoors. (It’s okay to move your bike into your room for breaks!)
• Move valuable items out of easy sight of windows and doors.
• Copy all important papers and cards that you carry in your purse or wallet, including your driver’s license. Keep the copies in a safe place. (The information will be invaluable if they are stolen or lost.)
• Contact Safety and Security to park your vehicle in the Dixie Garage over breaks.
In the unlikely event that a burglary occurs, Wheeler asks reports be made immediately to Safety and Security. If the events happen off campus, call the local police.
PBA Safety and Security: (561) 803-2500
West Palm Beach Police Dept. non-emergency line: (561) 822-1900