The next few days will be busy ones with Mississippi State students moving into rental homes and apartments, and Starkville police officials are offering a few tips to help them keep from becoming crime victims during the process.
With a heavy number of students and others moving into area apartment complexes and other rental properties, thefts and burglaries often spike this time of year, Starkville Police Chief David Lindley said.
“Unfortunately, there are people in our community who are more predatory on others this time of year, and they take advantage of those people who don’t use proper precautions,” Lindley said. “Luckily, there is only a small percentage of the community who will take advantage of this situation by committing crimes, but they are inclined to do so in a target-rich environment.”
A common problem involves students leaving personal property unattended while moving into a new apartment or home or while leaving for a meal or to grocery shop, Lindley said.
With local retailers seeing a boost in business from the returning students, residents are also at risk to become crime victims, particularly with auto burglaries, Lindley added.
“All items, whether being left in the car or a moving truck, need to be locked up safely if no one is to be around,” Lindley said. “Keeping them out of plain view will also help.”
Police Department officials offered the following tips to help students and others prevent vehicular break-ins:
• Always lock vehicle doors and windows when leaving it for any amount of time.
• Park in well-lit areas will often deter potential criminals.
• Do not leave small electronics devices, wallets, purses or other easily taken items lying in plain view inside a vehicle. They should be removed or hidden from plain view.
Police have also previously responded to burglaries in student-populated areas during periods when students have moved into and out of apartments and rental homes.
Lindley said students should keep an eye out for suspicious activity when unloading belongings while moving into homes and apartments.
“Do not hesitate to dial 911 or call police or other law enforcement agencies to report any unusual or suspicious activity around their homes or those of their neighbors,” Lindley said. “If someone suspicious is spotted, try to be able to describe the person’s gender, clothing and physical build, including estimated height and weight.”
To help authorities in recovering property should a vehicular or residential burglary occur, victims should be able to provide a list of list of serial numbers of valuables such as the items listed above. Such a list should be stored in a safe place, and, in case of a crime, can aid authorities in recovering items expeditiously.