The Chapel Hill Police Department is taking extra precautions this holiday season to combat the rising number of holiday break-ins that Chapel Hill sees each year.

Among those extra precautions is a house check program, which CHPD assistant chief Jabe Hunter says made a significant difference during last year’s holiday season.

“We had a significant increase of [house checks] last holiday season and we saw a 20 percent decrease in our historical average for break-ins during that time,” said Hunter.

Hunter says that merely increasing police presence in neighborhoods with higher rates of crime has helped to lower these numbers.

“We believe that it’s just the fact that we’re present in the community interacting with folks, getting out of the car and walking around the houses, that is seen and it creates an environment that has lowered the numbers,” said Hunter.

Many of these break-ins happen in areas where college students live, says Hunter.

“A lot of [break-ins] are happening in areas that have residential homes that are rentals that students are occupying,” said Hunter. “That’s just a function of being gone for long periods of time, going back home, but they also have laptops and computers that are left behind.”

You can sign up for the house check program here.