Winter break housing safety

By The Beacon | November 19, 2014 12:21pm

By Melissa Aguilar

You just finished final exams, essays and labs. You are so ready to get back home and visit with friends and family over the holidays. But before you finish packing your bags, make sure your off-campus house stays secure while you’re away.

The Beacon spoke with Public Safety’s Sergeant Michael Kranyak about what you need to know to keep your home-away-from-home safe.

-Remove anything that is visible from the outside that indicates students live in the home.  Signs declaring “Purple Pride” or other University affiliation should be stowed away for the winter.

-Stop mail or newspaper delivery to your home to avoid coming back to weeks’ worth of paper piled up in your mailbox or driveway.

-Make sure all perishables are removed from the refrigerator and the trash is taken out so you don’t come back to any unpleasant surprises next semester.

-Lower the thermostat to 55 degrees Fahrenheit to protect against pipes bursting.

-Ensure the locks on doors, windows and garages function properly and are secured before leaving the house.

-Buy a timer that will activate lights in your house to go on several hours in the morning and several hours in the evening. Anyone looking in from the outside will have more difficulty gauging if someone is home or not.

-If you are not taking your car home, make sure no valuables are left inside, and park it in the driveway if possible. The car will be less of a target when off the street, and this also makes it easier for the city to clean up snow.

-Let a trusted neighbor, family member or friend living nearby know when you will be gone so they can keep an eye out for you. Let them know how to reach you in the case of an emergency.

-Though Public Safety’s main focus is campus, students may contact the office to let them know when no one will be home and they can check that there is no suspicious activity around your home. Leave them your contact information so they can alert you should anything go wrong.

Melissa Aguilar is a reporter for The Beacon. You can reach her at