College students taking precautions against theft during break


'Tis the season for home burglaries, especially around college towns, where students have left their dorms and apartments.

For others, the American Automobile Association says 90-million will travel somewhere for the holidays. But a $10 plug-in timer may be the number one thing you can buy yourself to make your home less of a break-in target.

In Bloomington, half the burglaries target college students - many over the holidays.

"I really just want to save energy so our bill is down. I'll turn 'em off," said student Laurie Cress of her lights.

But experts say turning off the lights is not a good idea. That's where the timer comes in. You can activate a light and a radio or TV for just a few hours, which would let everyone know someone could be home.

"I didn't even think of that," one renter told Eyewitness News. "That's a good idea, too. I could do that."

Renter Nathan Byrd said he knows people "who had all their stuff stolen over break."

So Nathan will take his laptop home and leave his TV and game machine with a friend. He'll also leave at least one light on for his pet ball python.

"A good security guard?" we asked. "No, he's not able to do much," Byrd replied.

"I have a flat screen TV," said another student. "I have been debating whether to take it home or not. I know people can just break in very easily."

Clare Roggeman makes sure the deadbolts on her patio door are locked, too. "One time we forgot to lock them, but we learned that the hard way. We'll probably keep some of those lights on," she said.

Like other students, they're worried about running up electric bills, so we gave Clare and her roommate and Laurie upstairs some plug-in timers.