Although traditionally a time of rampant crime with most students out of town, this year’s winter break saw fewer break-ins than usual, police said.

Six off-campus student residences were illegally entered between Dec. 22 and Jan. 4.

That’s nine fewer than last year, when 15 burglaries were reported over the same time period. In 2004, there were nine.

Of the homes that were entered this year, three had property stolen. As usual, expensive electronics were the primary target. A television was stolen from one house, and DVDs were taken from another.

The third victim of the burglaries, who wished to remain anonymous because he was afraid someone else would try to rob his house, received a call from police Wednesday saying that his home on the 100 block of Hoover Ave. had been burglarized.

A suspect had entered through an unlocked kitchen window and, ignoring a 52-inch flat-screen TV and other electronics, stole a computer tower, an Xbox 360 video game console and Xbox games.

Six days later, the student received a second call from police, who said his property matched stolen goods that had been found in a parking lot less than 100 yards from his home.

“I was really excited, but at the same time I didn’t want to think ‘Oh sweet, it’s definitely mine,’ ” the student said.

It was. The police returned the stolen property, worth about $800, to his home. Police have no suspects in the break-in.

Sgt. Pat Ouellette of the Ann Arbor Police Department said he couldn’t explain the decline in break-ins.

“It just changes from year to year,” Ouellete said. “There’s really nothing you can point a finger at.”

Because area thieves know campus neighborhoods are almost empty during the holiday season, they tend to attempt more break-ins during that time. Typically, the police increase the number of patrols in student neighborhoods, Ouellete said.

“We know there’s going to be a pattern of break-ins during those times, so we heavily patrol those areas,” he said. “Hopefully some of those extra patrols do pay off.”

Putting on the Brakes
Crimes near campus during winter break

9 – Break-ins reported two years ago

15 – Break-ins reported last year

6 – Break-ins reported this year

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