BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — It's the time of year that thieves in the Bloomington area look forward to: The exodus of students for the holiday, leaving behind their college homes as inviting targets to burglars.
Police and campus officials are warning students to take steps to protect their valuables while they are away from Bloomington.
"We understand that students may be preoccupied with final exams and trying to leave for the break, but we want to be proactive in our reminder about security and try to reduce the number of burglaries," Bloomington Police Chief Mike Diekhoff told The Herald-Times for a story Sunday.
The fall semester for Indiana University's Bloomington main campus ends Friday.
"We are quite familiar with the various breaks throughout the school year, and officers are assigned extra patrols in student neighborhoods and apartment complexes to reduce crime or catch offenders," Diekhoff said. "Unfortunately, those with criminal intent are also familiar with the breaks."
Students may represent between 35 percent and 55 percent of burglary cases recently received by the Bloomington Police Department, Capt. Joe Qualters said.
Campus officials also advise dormitory residents to pack up valuables before going home for the holidays.
IU student Brianna Saalfrank said she knew some classmates who were victims of theft.
"It was horrible. They got so much taken away from them and they could not get any of it back," Saalfrank told WRTV-TV. "A lot of them didn't have any kind of insurance so they didn't get anything."
Police advise students to keep records of the make, model and serial numbers of electronics. They should take photos of the items and note any identifying features such as scratches. Students should consider taking laptop computers, small electronics and jewelry with them rather than leaving them behind.