Break-ins down, police say

AMS Holiday Housecheck ‘good for peace of mind,’ MAC says

Kingston Police reported two break and enters in the Ghetto area over the winter holidays, down from the eight reported last year.

There were 18 break-ins in 2007-08, 22 in 2006-07 and 35 in 2005-06. Police said items that are typically stolen include computers, laptops and other electronics and bicycles.

Queen’s University Student Affairs office advises students on its safety webpage not to leave valuables in the house, lock their doors and windows and make home look lived in when they’re away.

The AMS’s Holiday Housecheck program, which is run by the Municipal Affairs Commission (MAC), is designed to reduce the threat of break and enters in student occupied properties.

The program employs students to check on homes in the student housing area while occupants are away during the winter break. Students had until Dec. 23 to register their house to be checked on. MAC Commissioner Libby Shaker said she thinks the holiday house checkers help minimize students’ concern about break and enters while they are at home for the holidays.

“They will stomp down the snow, walk around the house to check for break-ins and get your mail,” she said. “You have someone to watch your house which is good for peace of mind.”

Shaker said the house checker contacts the police if they suspect a house has been broken into. “If there is some sort of break in it will be reported immediately,” she said, adding that last year the house checkers reported one or two break and enters in the houses they were observing. This year there were none.

Shaker said there has been an increase in use of the service this year, with 115 student homes employing house checkers this year compared to 50 last year.

“We wish more [students would take advantage of the service], but the good news is a lot of landlords check for their tenants.”

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