Wow, the quarter’s almost over already. It feels like it was the last day of summer break only a few weeks ago. Halloween came and went faster than a Friday night streaker on Del Playa. Now the holidays are here. Soon all of you are going to be at home snug in your beds with visions of Halo guns in your head. Ah, the Xbox games, new laptops, brand new fruit of the looms to replace that last pair you’ve been milking for at least a month and of course the pink bunny outfit from your old Aunt Clara!

Unfortunately as you come back to I.V. and enter your apartment, you find things are not as you left them. Where you once had a nice LCD TV, is now only a slightly cleaner square spot on the wall. Drawers are open all over the place and you realize that you’ve been hit by the Grinch big time.

Nothing can ruin the holiday cheer faster than being burglarized while you’re away. Sadly this is an all too frequent occurrence while everyone is still in town. Imagine Isla Vista with ninety percent of the people gone for a few weeks. I can tell you that a few of the less scrupulous folks have. They look at this as their chance to do some serious Christmas shopping.

So what can you do to stop them? While there’s no absolute way to stop someone from breaking in, you can at least minimize the chances that you’ll either be a victim or lose some of your more valuable stuff. Here are some quick tips for you:

Make sure every door and window is locked. If you are the last one to leave, double-check every one. Often an unlocked bathroom or bedroom window is the main entry point in a burglary.

If you have sliding glass windows or doors, put dowel rods, round wood rods, in the tracks to prevent them from being slid open.

Leave one or two interior lights on to make it look like someone might be home.

Leave a radio on a talk station so voices are heard inside your apartment. Nothing can scare off a crook better than Rush Limbaugh in the morning!

Take your laptop and IPods with you. Those are the most frequently taken items. If someone does break in, at least you won’t lose those.

Write down the serial numbers from your electronics. It can go a long way on the cops being able to identify the recovered stolen TV as yours if we have the serial number. Try e-mailing the list to yourself at a remote account, like Gmail or Yahoo. That way your list isn’t taken with the laptop.

Don’t turn your apartment into the New York Macy’s window display. Yes, your beer can Christmas tree is freakin’ sweet, but it’s also advertising the midnight madness sale on your lovely stack of DVD’s and players. Close the blinds and put your stuff out of sight.

These are only a few quick tips to help protect you and your property. Like I said, there’s no absolute way to stop someone who is determined to break in, but if you take a few precautions, the lazy S.O.B. will likely try the apartment next to you that left the door open and the Xbox stacked neatly next to the plasma in full view of all Del Playa. Maybe it’s not very Christmassy of me to say it, but better Zen than screwed.

So while you are away, enjoy the break and spread the holiday cheer. And don’t forget to tip one for the cops out every night on a Grinch hunt, ready to mount our first catch on the Foot Patrol wall. Happy Holidays to you all.