EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - With thousands of student returning to campus next week, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire police are warning students to take precautions to avoid being a victim of crime.
UWEC Sgt. Chris Kirchman said violent crimes are rare on campus, but thefts often rise when school's in session. Last year, there were five reported thefts in Aug., compared to 13 in Sept.
"For anybody who might have that criminal mindset, a large amount of people and property in a small area can sometimes become a target," Kirchman said.
Police suggested that students keep track of serial numbers for valuables and take pictures to make items easier to locate and to be aware of their surroundings.
"If they feel something's not right, if the hair stands up on the back of their neck, to be aware of that and to react to that rather than just to ignore it," he said.
"My friend ... every time I see her car in the parking lot, her windows are down, her car's unlocked and I’m always like, how can you do that?" UWEC sophomore Emily Torgerson said.
"We tell people that if they're ever going to leave their room, they should secure their door, not give their combinations to other people, even their friends," Kirchman said.
"I always keep (valuables) locked up, my laptop especially," UWEC junior Jordan Smith said.
"If something happens to your property, you're just as much at fault for not taking care of it or locking it up when you know that something like that is very possible to happen with this many people around," UWEC sophomore Emily Barquest said.
Eau Claire city police said outside of campus, crime numbers were lower during the school year, which may be due to fewer people outside in cooler temperatures.