UOPD to offer Vacation Watch for students who have to travel

UOPD patrol car

University of Oregon students can again opt in to the UO Police Department’s Vacation Watch program this spring break to have officers do regular patrol checks on their off-campus homes.

While the university is recommending that students avoid all nonessential travel over the break due to the pandemic, students living in Eugene who have to travel can do so with peace of mind, thanks to Vacation Watch.

Students who live near campus can register their residences before leaving the area over the break. UOPD officers will check registered vacant residences as often as possible during their regular patrols. Officers will also pick up any mailed packages left outside at the door of registered homes for safe keeping.

UOPD has provided this free service since 2018, checking on hundreds of student homes every winter break and spring break, and helping make the overall community safer and more secure.

While the free service can't guarantee that a property won't be the target of crime, a regular police presence creates a deterrent and provides residents quick notification if any suspicious activity occurs.

“This spring break is a little different and we’re hoping our students avoid traveling as much as possible,” said UOPD Chief Matt Carmichael. “But for students who must travel, 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.”

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

As a reminder, past 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.