Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
Thousands of Ole Miss students and Oxford residents will soon be heading out of town for the holidays, and that means it’s prime time for home break-ins.
Detective Jeff McCoustsin has been working Oxford crimes for about five years. He recently looked at the stats for burglaries in 2011 during the months of November, December and January.
“During the holidays there was a reported 73 burglaries. Now that’s car and house. If you total that up and look at all of the burglaries during the year, that makes about half of them during the holidays,” said McCoustin.
McCoustin advises anyone leaving for the holidays to ask people who will be here to check in on their homes and cars. He also says you can call the police station and tell them you are leaving town; they will go by and check on your place for you.
In addition, you should bolt all doors and lock all windows, and keep a light on.
Abby Engerson, a junior at Ole Miss, found that out the hard way when she was broken into on a normal school night right in a home right off the Square.
“Although I had deadbolts on all of my doors, I forgot to deadbolt the back door, but it was locked. I would advise everyone to really start locking up and hiding your valuables,” said Engerson.
Officers say Engerson’s story is not unusual.
“Most break-ins occur through a window that’s unlocked, an unlocked car door, or back door to a home,” said Officer C. Camp.
Though these precautions are especially important over the holiday breaks, Engerson says a break-in can happen at any time.
“I got broken into on a school night. I didn’t take the proper precautions I guess because I live in a nice neighborhood and Oxford is said to be one of the safest towns; I did not really think anything of it.”