COLUMBIA — More homes and businesses were burglarized during the 2013 holiday season than in any of the previous five years, according to a Columbia Police Department release.
A total of 96 burglaries were reported between Dec. 14 and Jan. 20, according to the release. In 2012, the Police Department recorded 66 burglaries between Dec. 15, 2012, and Jan. 21, 2013.
However, the total number of burglaries in 2013 decreased in comparison to the previous two years, according to the release. In 2013, 703 burglaries were reported, compared to 784 in 2012, a 12 percent decline. In 2011, there were 798 burglaries reported.
During winter break, 75 of the burglaries were residential, 15 were commercial and 6 were classified as "other", which take place in an unattached garage or shed, according to the release.
The Police Department began keeping reports about break-ins that occur over the winter break in 2009. The department takes a closer look at holiday periods in general as many university students leave their Columbia residences to visit their hometowns, said Sgt. Joe Bernhard, Columbia Police Department public information officer.
The department tends to see an increase in burglaries reported during breaks from academic sessions. But it is hard to pinpoint why the increase in burglaries during breaks might increase from year to year, Bernhard said.
"Maybe several burglars just got released from prison, maybe more students had their doors unlocked — it could be a variety of factors," he said.
The department increases the number of police patrolling the areas heavily populated by students when universities aren’t in regular academic sessions, Bernhard said.
Bernhard attributes the overall decrease in burglaries to crime prevention campaigns the Police Department held in 2013. Police went door to door handing out informational fliers, provided security tips through social media and installed a sign on Bearfield Road reminding residents to lock their doors.
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