Isla Vista had another winter break with relatively few burglaries, continuing the low crime rate that has become a trend over the past few years.

As of Monday, the Isla Vista Foot Patrol had received reports of a total of seven burglaries over the three weeks of Winter Break, Lt. Tom McKinny said – a rate lower than the 25 burglaries reported during the six weeks before the break. Nine burglaries were reported during the 2002 break, and six were reported in winter of 2001. McKinny said he is pleased that the number of crimes has remained low, considering that many homes have been unoccupied for so long.

“One [burglary] is too many, but during the holidays, seven is not bad,” McKinny said.

For the past several years, the IVFP has offered a house check service to I.V. residents over winter break. This year, 83 residences signed up for the check, McKinny said. The IVFP had officers in uniform and in plainclothes patrolling the streets and checking houses regularly over the break.

“We’re out there looking for burglars both with high profile officers and undercover,” McKinny said.

McKinny said the house checks did not stop any burglaries in progress, but that some arrests were made in conjunction with the burglaries over the break.

“We’re working on a couple of leads right now,” McKinny said. “I’d like to think that some of our proactive measures were working.”

Senior Deputy Virgil Messmore of the IVFP said the patrolling officers came across many houses with unlocked – and often open – doors and windows, but were not always able to tell whether there had been a break-in or whether a resident had just left the house open.

“We found open doors and windows all over town, but we couldn’t always tell if something was missing,” Messmore said. “So we secured the houses and marked it on the report.”

At least one house was found broken into and ransacked, Messmore said. Of the seven burglaries recorded, a few reported substantial losses. One burglar made off with approximately $6,500 worth of property, and another burglar stole several items totaling about $4,500.

McKinny said in many of the burglaries reported to the IVFP, entry is not forced – the burglars enter the home through unlocked doors or windows. He encouraged residents to ensure that their house is completely secure, especially when leaving over vacation.

“It’s also very helpful to us if people write down the serial numbers of valuable stuff like laptops,” McKinny said. “And residents should call us immediately to report any suspicious activities they see.”