'This is kind of a target rich environment when students are gone'

'This is kind of a target rich environment when students are gone'

EUGENE, Ore. - Between finals and winter break, University of Oregon students have a lot to look forward to in the next few weeks.

Eugene Police hope students will take a little time away from the books to protect their property.

For the second year in a row, police converged at the Chase Apartments and knocked on doors to prevent crime. Handing out fliers and hot cocoa, the Community Service team is battling burglars before they strike by sharing information with students.

"This is kind of a target rich environment when students are gone for break," said Kelly Putnam, community service/crime prevention officer.

Police said students need to secure their cars and apartments before they head off for winter break.

Students should take their laptops and other valuables with them when they go.  

Even a gym bag full of smelly socks left in a car could spell trouble.

"Somebody's going to break your window to get that because they think that your wallet and your phone and your iPod could be there," Putnam said.

Police said reaching out and talking to students before they take off for winter break really works. Last year, the break-ins to student residences dropped in half compared to 2010, when at least 30 student residences were burglarized.

Students get the message - some the hard way. Suji Paek was a burglary victim this year at the Chase Apartments.  "Last summer I went for a break and everything on my patio was
taken," Paek said.

"I think it's great that everyone should know how it really does happen, tt's not just everyone talks about it," said student Brooke Gansemer.

Bottom line: police thinky personal contact with the students now can pay dividends of lower crime later.

The crime prevention team will be back at it Tuesday at the Stadium Apartments in Eugene, then Wednesday and Thursday outside the Erb Memorial Union on campus.