Robbery risk rises after the holidays

(Graphic by Joshua Awolade)

(Graphic by Joshua Awolade)

With students in Waterloo Region making their plans for the upcoming holidays, there’s a looming fear about the risks of property break-ins.

However, Waterloo Regional Police have asserted that during the winter holiday, there isn’t an increase in break-ins in student areas.

“We notice generally over the summer months there’s an increase when people are away for extended periods,” said Olaf Heinzel, public affairs coordinator for the WRPS.

“Not so much during Christmas and seasonal holidays in December.”

Heinzel mentioned that the break-ins, whether they are during the summer or winter months, depend on whether homes look like people are home.

“We have a tendency to believe that most break-ins happen when people are perceived not to be home,” he said.

However, not all students feel comfortable with the area.

Jayme Pakkala, a third-year biology student at WLU, said that she fears break-ins in her apartment.

“I don’t [feel safe],” Pakkala said.

“There’s been a lot of break-ins around [my area] and it’s a student area so I feel as though you’re more prone over the holidays for the people that stay here to steal your stuff.”

Heinzel mentioned that break-ins tend to happen after the holidays in the first few weeks of the winter semester, when people bring back their new purchases.

“If anything, we’ve seen a little bit of an increase to break-ins in homes after the holidays. Part of that, of course, has to do with the fact that people have received their gifts,” he said.

Just last Tuesday, WRPS had a presentation regarding break-ins in the Waterloo region and what residents should do to be proactive in the situation.

Heinzel said that WRPS run their annual “lock it or lose it” program with the local business community to provide awareness to residents.

He also reminded students not to publish on social media that they will be leaving the city, as some people might use it to target residences.

“The reality is that most people know that students will be away for the holidays if they’re out of town.”

Advice Heinzel offered was for students to arrange a safety plan with everyone living in their house for the winter break, as well as bringing valuables home or locking them away. “We [suggest] that they always use proper safety precautions for their personal safety as well as their property.”

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