Avoiding theft during the holidays


The holiday season is in full swing while citizens rush to purchase, or possibly steal, gifts for others. The idea that people are stealing gifts isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibilities, as theft is the largest crime class in Manhattan; over 65 percent of the total annual crime in the city falls into this category.

Though winter weather might not be the biggest factor on crimes, the holiday season – or the end of the semester – tends to be when Manhattan crime rates rise.

“The time of the year, more than the weather, has an effect on crime,” said Don Stubbings, assistant director of support services at the K-State Police Department. “We tend to see an increase in thefts toward the end of the semesters both in May and December. Many thieves know that many of our students are gone for the holidays.”

Because of this, students leaving town for the holidays should make sure they store their valuables out of sight and communicate with roommates.

“It is important when leaving for extended periods of time, such as semester breaks and holidays, that you don’t leave valuables that can easily taken home, such as laptops and jewelry,” Stubbings said. “Additionally, communicate with roommates on who is leaving last to make sure the apartment or house is locked.”

According to the Riley County Police Department website, other ways to possibly make thieves avoid your home include paying attention to your surroundings.

“Locking doors and windows on vehicles and homes are simple actions that can reduce one’s risk of becoming a victim of crimes like burglary,” Matthew Droge, RCPD public information officer, said. “Paying attention to surroundings as well as reporting suspicious activity are also things that can help overall.”

According to the RCPD website, it is important to not leave any valuable items in your vehicle and in plain sight. Also, refrain from posting on social media sites when leaving town, because it shows thieves your home will be unoccupied.

If you are going home for winter break, leave a porch light or a few lights on inside your home. The few extra dollars on your energy bill may trick a potential thief.

“While Christmas shopping, I place a blanket over the shopping bags in my car,” Eddey Ibarra, junior in animal sciences and industry, said. “That way if someone walks by my car and looks through my window, they won’t have as much of an urge to break in.”

Shutting blinds or drapes can also prevent thieves from seeing objects inside of your home, which will reduce future break-ins, according to the RCPD website.