UAPD Offers ‘Away from Home’ Service for Traveling Students

University police can make periodic, outside checks of unoccupied student homes during Winter Break.


Jake Herron

A marked and unmarked University police vehicle patrol campus.

By Sala Wier, Copy Editor

With Winter Break approaching, many students may be planning to leave their homes or rental properties for extended periods of time, something that can be alluring to burglars.

Fortunately for them, The University of Akron Police Department offers a free service to students who would like to have periodic, outside checks of their vacant homes.

“The Away from Home check program is one of several steps that students can take to help reduce the likelihood of having their house broken into while they are away,” UAPD Captain Jim Gilbride said.

Officers will check up on homes in the residential areas south of Exchange Street and east of State Route 8.

(Image via The University of Akron Police Department)
Map of areas (in blue) covered by UAPD’s “Away from Home” service.

Away from Home checks are offered during Winter, Spring and Thanksgiving Break.

Students do not have to leave a key to their residence since officers will not enter a house unless there is an emergency or a burglary in progress.

UAPD officers and off-campus patrollers will make periodic checks of the outside of students’ homes to make sure they are still secure, Gilbride said.

“The increased presence of law enforcement also deters burglars from your residence,” Gilbride said.

The University gives a variety of ways to make homes and rental properties less attractive to burglars while away.

First, residents should double-check to make sure all doors and windows are locked properly. Then, they should make sure the home looks ‘lived-in’ and leave the blinds positioned as if someone was there. Also, it might be a good idea to give a spare key to a trusted friend who can bring the mail in or clear the driveway.

If a student is leaving a car, he or she should have a trusted friend move it occasionally. However, if a student doesn’t leave a car, he or she should have a friend park in the driveway occasionally to make it seem as if the house is not vacant.

Police advise against leaving flat-screen televisions visible near windows or in view of the street. Police also recommend taking pictures of any other valuables around the house. Also, they suggest taking any electronics or valuables out of the house while on break.

One last important thing for students to think of before going on vacation is to be cautious about what is said on social media.

“Students include their contact information when they sign up for an Away from Home check. Officers will contact you if they find anything suspicious or unusual,” Gilbride said. Though this program should help deter break-ins, there is no guarantee implied.

Students wishing to have their homes or rental properties checked over Winter Break should 
sign up before 8:00 a.m. on Dec. 17.