UOPD starts Vacation Watch and shares holiday security tips

UOPD patrol car

Residents in near-campus neighborhoods can expect to see a healthy number of police vehicles on streets this winter break, as University of Oregon police launch a new watch program in the ongoing fight against property crime.

UOPD is piloting Vacation Watch, a daily patrol and residence check program that students can opt into for free online, before they leave for winter break.

During the break of Dec. 7-Jan. 6, the UO Police Department will check registered vacant residences daily as part of routine patrols. While this service can't guarantee that a property won't be the target of crime, police presence will create a deterrent and provide quick notification to residents of any suspicious activity. Students can register, and also get tips for changes their mail delivery, on the UOPD website.

"This is our first time trying this at the UO," Police Chief Matt Carmichael 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."

UOPD's Vacation Watch won't be the only police presence in off-campus areas.

Members of the Eugene Police Crime Prevention Team and the volunteer Senior Patrol Team will conduct weekday patrols in neighborhoods surrounding campus, including the Commons and Kinsrow areas. Both teams use marked vehicles to increase visibility and deter crime; they'll also park marked vehicles in neighborhoods as an ongoing deterrent.

"We'll take an observe-and-report approach and hopefully deter crime based on our visibility," EPD crime prevention acting supervisor Debbie Janecek said.

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

Winter break safety tips

Want to have a safe, secure break? Follow this to-do list from the Eugene and University of Oregon police departments before you go:

  1. Lock residence doors and windows; close window coverings.
  2. Don't leave valuables visible through residence or vehicle windows.
  3. Take valuables with you when leave your residence for break, and when you park your car.
  4. Stop deliveries when you're gone that could tell thieves you're away.
  5. Park vehicles in secured, monitored or well-lit areas. Use steering locks.
  6. Don’t leave bikes locked outdoors unused and unmonitored.
  7. Make sure someone will care for any pets while you're gone.
  8. Look out for your friends. If someone needs medical help, don't be afraid to call 911. Don't leave them with strangers; help them get home safely.
  9. Students who have experienced sexual harassment, including sexual assault, dating or domestic violence, gender-based harassment or bullying, or stalking have options to report and receive help from a variety of sources, including the university, campus and local law enforcement, and community agencies. For those who are unsure of what to do, UO staff will review all available options so students can decide how they want to proceed. Students can get support and information at safe.uoregon.edu or 541-346-SAFE.
  10. Anywhere in the United States, call 911 to report a crime or medical or safety emergency.

Read more personal safety tips. Download and use the UO Mobile App for info on safe rides, night-time campus maps, and more. Ducks Protect Ducks!

Special tip for UO employees: Campus and UO buildings get a lot emptier when students are gone. Suspicious activity might more easily go unnoticed. It's a good idea to be more aware of office security and make sure that valuables are secured in locked desks and that office doors are locked when not occupied. Employees should call UOPD at 541-346-2919 to report suspicious conditions or to request an on-campus safety escort.