Thieves target students gone for the holidays

(FOX19) - Many families may be headed out of town for the Thanksgiving weekend, but police say thieves target vacant homes this time of year.

Some universities see the campus and surrounding property pretty much empty on these long weekends, leaving opportunity for criminals to take advantage.

Michaela Brooks is a freshman at NKU. On Tuesday, she packed the car and went home for her first Thanksgiving break.

"We have a lot of stuff back in our dorm room, we're only going home for a couple days so a lot of our stuff is still there, our electronics and stuff," says Michaela Brooks.

"They want the computer that's left on the desk, maybe a purse or a wallet that's just left laying on a bed," explains Chief Jason Willis.

NKU police chief Jason Willis says most of these items are targeted as quick grab crimes or opportunity thefts, often times when doors are left open. But Brooks says she's well prepared.

"We lock our bedroom doors and we lock our bedroom doors for that kind of safety," adds Brooks.

Not bringing your books home for the break? Willis says you better find a safe place for them.

"We do have a lot of textbook thefts. Somebody could commit a textbook theft here, take it across the river to Clifton, wherever and convert that into cash pretty quickly," explains Chief Jason Willis.

There's also steps you can take on social media. Chief Willis says our society is becoming too trustworthy online and posting certain information on Twitter or Facebook before a trip is risky.

"Especially when we're leaving for a break and letting people know that, hey it's Friday, I'm going to be gone until next Tuesday. That's not the best information to give, that's letting somebody know that you're going to be gone for three or four days," explains Willis.

Whether it be NKU, UC, Xavier, or Miami, all the schools have been communicating holiday safety tips with students or even offering vacant house checks to prevent these crimes.

"I know it exists but I never hear about them so I do appreciate them very much so for keeping me safe and making me have the peace of mind whenever I do leave," says Jacob Dixon.

For a closer look at what services police offer at various local universities, visit these links...

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