With thousands of students and Columbia residents leaving the city — and sometimes, valuable property — behind for the summer, the Columbia Police Department is taking steps to prevent crime and keep property safe.
Last week, CPD released Vacation Crime Prevention Tips for Columbia residents. Police release tips each summer as a way for citizens to protect themselves and their homes while on vacation.
“If you follow these steps when you’re leaving town there’s a good chance you won’t be the victim of a crime,” CPD Sgt. Lloyd Simons said.
The release advises residents to lock all their doors and windows properly and give their homes a lived-in appearance by using automatic timers on lights and appliances.
The release also suggests residents turn the ringer volume on their telephones to low. Simons said police across the country advise homeowners to engage in this practice.
“If somebody is trying to call you and somebody is outside you’re house, they wouldn’t be able to hear the phone ring continuously and know nobody is home if the ringer is turned down low,” Simons said.
Residents are advised not to leave lights on 24 hours a day.
“If people see lights on continuously it’s a key that nobody is there,” Simons said. “It’s best to put lights on timers like you would normally live.”
Police said residents leaving their property unattended should ask for help from neighbors by asking them to park in the resident’s driveway and pick up mail, newspapers or packages while they are gone.
CPD offers a “watch in passing” service for residents on vacation. If citizens let the police know when they will be out of town, beat officers will watch the vacant houses. Residents can leave emergency contact numbers with the police department so officers can notify them in case of a disturbance.
Simons said the CPD releases these crime prevention tips annually so Columbia residents are able to be proactive about protecting their belongings.
“People who don’t take preventative techniques are more likely to be victims,” Simons said.
To request a “watch in passing” from the CPD, contact the department at (573) 442-6131.