ITHACA, N.Y. — Police said 16 burglaries were reported in Collegetown during winter break, on par with the yearly spike in the crime police say happens when students go home for the holidays.

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Officer Jamie Williamson said the crimes were reported between Dec. 20 and Jan. 27 on East and South Hills.

Related: Ithaca police: Burglaries triple on East, South hills

He previously said the Ithaca Police Department handles as few as three or as many as seven burglaries a month. During winter beak, however, he said those numbers can even quadruple.

The cause of the crimes?

Nearly all of them happen to those who leave homes or vehicles unlocked.

Williamson said criminals literally walk around neighborhoods pulling on doors just to see if they get lucky with an open empty home or vehicle– and they often do during the holidays because Collegetown has so few people sticking around through December and January.

“Most of these are generated by drug use,” Williamson previously said. “People need to do their drugs, however, drugs aren’t free. So they have to do what they can.”

In an effort to prevent burglaries, uniformed and undercover officers work overtime patrolling the area, sometimes even catching burglars in the act of stealing.

But the best measure people can take to keep belongs safe, Williamson said, is to ensure doors are locked.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.