Staying safe for the holidays

Talya Cunningham

With the holiday season just around the corner, students are completing exams, scrambling to finish holiday shopping and hitting the road to be with family, but many fail to realize that theft is prevalent during this cheerful time. According to the VCU Police Department’s publication, Campus Watch, the holidays are an ideal time for crimes to be committed because people spend more time shopping and are away from home for longer periods of time.

“The holidays are a good time for relaxation and fun, but don’t leave your common sense at home,” the document stated. Ebony Cunningham, VCU graduate and elementary school counselor says she thinks many lose sight of safety during the holiday season because it has a reputation of being a warm, comforting time where people are surrounded by food, family and friends.

“It’s easy to forget people out there want to hurt you or take your belongings when I’m surrounded by gifts, hot chocolate and candy canes,” Cunningham said. The Campus Watch gave some helpful suggestions on how to stay safe during this holiday season, which include locking windows and doors; securing valuable property in closets or cabinets; traveling in populated, well-lit areas; avoid carrying and flashing large amounts of money; traveling with others and most importantly, be alert to surroundings.

Even if an individual follows these guidelines, there is still a chance that he or she may be approached. If the situation occurs, the Campus Watch advises students to always cooperate. “Give the criminal what he/she asks for-wallet, keys, jewelry, credit cards and electronics.Your life is more valuable than replaceable possessions,” the document stated. Seaver Woolfolk, a music major said the holiday season is what burglars prey on. “Most are bitten by the (holiday) cheer bug, including myself, and the last thing on my mind is locking doors, clutching my bag and closing the blinds in my house.

Although I know awareness is the main way to prevent theft,” Woolfolk said. Students, because of their young age, tend to have the mind-set that they are invincible and that crime can’t happen to them, Cunningham said, but the reality of the situation is anyone can be subjected to theft and robbery. “Remember to have an enjoyable, but SAFE vacation,” the VCU Police Department stated.

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