Students: Play it safe, sign up for Vacation Watch during break

UOPD patrol vehicle

As students prepare to depart campus for winter break, Safety and Risk Services and the UO Police Department are reminding community members to keep themselves, and their property, safe.

“It takes a partnership to keep the community safe,” UOPD Chief Jason Wade said. “Any suspicious activity or unauthorized strangers on campus should be reported right away.”

UOPD is again offering Vacation Watch to students living in near-campus neighborhoods to help make the community safer and more secure during vacations and extended absences. Students who live near campus can register their residences before leaving the area for break.

UOPD will check registered vacant residences as often as possible. While this service can’t guarantee a property won’t be the target of a crime, it can provide a deterrent and quick notification to residents of any suspicious activity.

People leaving residences for winter break should follow the basic guidelines to secure doors and windows, close window coverings, suspend mail and other deliveries and, if possible, set lights on timers.

Vacation Watch has been successful in curbing crime during a time when many students are away from campus, Wade said.

"The goal is to reduce theft or burglary while students are away on break and work with our partners and residents to keep these off-campus neighborhoods safer," he said. “We want them to take advantage of this free service, so they can have a nice, relaxing break knowing UOPD will keep watch on their neighborhood.”

Students who are leaving for break should secure bicycles off the street, and if possible, indoors or in a bike cage.

“Bikes become easy targets for the criminal element if they’re left out on bike racks over winter break,” he said.

While on campus during break, Wade offers these reminders to employees:

  • Report criminal activity — such as a break-in or intruder, robbery or assault — immediately to 911 or, for nonemergency situations on campus, to UOPD at 541-346-2919.
  • In secured buildings, employees are reminded not to let in strangers or allow them to enter as you enter.
  • Don’t prop open doors or lend out keys. Only open the front door of a secured building or residence to someone you know and trust.
  • Immediately report any malfunctioning doors or windows in residence halls to University Housing at 541-346-4277 or housing@uoregon.edu. For other UO buildings, contact Campus Planning and Facilities Management Work Control at 541-346-2319 or workcontrolcenter@uoregon.edu.

As always, crimes or suspicious activity should be reported to police as soon as possible. Call 911 for emergencies or crimes in progress. For issues off campus, call the Eugene Police Department nonemergency line at 541-682-5111. For issues on campus, call UOPD at 541-346-2919.