Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
This holiday, theOxford Police Department wants to make sure Santa Claus is the only visitor who sneaks into your house. They’ve started a new program called “Lockout Crime,” according to Oxford Detective Johnathan Caine.
“The program mainly consists of three tasks to decrease your chances of a being a victim of burglaries during the holiday season.”
Rule No.1 is to keep all your doors, windows and garages locked at home. Those are the areas where thieves enter homes.
“We found 85 percent occur due to unlocked doors and unlocked windows,” said Caine.
No.2 is to keep your valuables hidden.
“Do not have items out in the open, secure your items, don’t have money or cash in the windows of your car: have it where people cannot see it,” said Caine. “If you have expensive electronics or televisions, write down the model and serial numbers, because if a burglary does happen, it will help us track down those items.”
Crime Prevention Coordinator Jeff Kellum says that’s a good rule to remember year round.
“The holidays are no different than any other time as for securing your stuff,” said Kellum.
Finally, Caine offers Rule No. 3, which is to report crimes because people don’t.
“You will be amazed at how many burglaries happen around town where people don’t call or if you see anybody doing something suspicious and know what is right and what is wrong just give us a call and let us know, “Caine said. You will be surprised at how many burglaries we solve.”
Cain says it’s unfortunate, but thieves tend to steal Christmas presents, especially from children.
“That is the way they try to make their money for the holidays,” said Kellum. “The stuff they steal from your house, sometimes they give away as gifts.”
Kellum says last year, burglaries hit 35-40 homes.
“In the months of November, December and March burglaries double up compared to all months,” said Caine. “That is also when college students go out of town and come back.”
But Caine says citizens can lower their risk.
“If you do those three things I said earlier lock your doors, secure items and call when something does not look right, or if you have a burglary, call us and let us know,” said Caine
“Those three changes will automatically decrease your chances of becoming a victim.”
And if that doesn’t work, at least one local resident has additional advice.
“During the holidays my family had an alarm system installed. We set it whenever we are not at the house, and we also have firearms in our house in case someone breaks in,” said freshman Jenning Mills. “If they get caught in the act, they will be very sorry.”