A new program by University of Oregon Police to check the homes of off-campus students during winter break was a success, police Chief Matt Carmichael said.
Through Vacation Watch, 283 students signed up to have the police department check their off-campus homes daily from Dec. 7 through Jan. 6. The program was offered to help deter or quickly identify and correct suspicious or illegal activity.
"We weren't sure what to expect but we're really happy with the response," Carmichael said. "That's almost 300 student homes being looked after and almost 300 students who could have a more relaxing break because they knew that police would be in their neighborhood and checking their home every day. There's no doubt that kind of presence deters crime."
UOPD personnel, mainly its nonsworn community service officers and student security assistants, conducted more than 7,000 residence checks during the break, making sure doors and windows were secure. Most signups came from the West University neighborhood but included addresses as far away as the Chase Village area and 24th Avenue and Jefferson Street.
The checks discovered one damaged door that residents said may have happened before the break and one burglarized shed where bikes and other property were stolen.
UOPD will offer Vacation Watch again for spring break 2019.