Leaving for school break?

This information was emailed to the JMU community on December 15, 2021.


The James Madison University Police Department, along with the Harrisonburg Police Department and Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office, would like to remind you to take just a couple of minutes to properly prepare before leaving Harrisonburg for the upcoming school break.  Many of these tips are intended for students but can just as easily apply to faculty and staff as well and can be adapted by everyone for their day to day safety in any community.   



  • Take anything of value, especially small items, home with you.  (i.e. iPods, laptops, jewelry, etc.)
  • Lock your dorm room, private space, apartment or office when you leave for break.
  • Close and lock all windows and sliding glass doors.  Place wooden dowel in sliding glass door track.  (You can purchase wooden dowels at your local hardware store.)
  • If you leave your vehicle in a campus parking lot or at your apartment complex, place all valuables out of site, secure them in the trunk and lock your doors.  Try to leave vehicle parked under a streetlight.
  • If you have a bicycle, check with your hall staff to see if it is okay to leave your bicycle in your room over break.  If you cannot leave it in your room, secure it to a bike rack.
  • If you live off-campus, secure your bicycle in your apartment.
  • Write down all your serial numbers for your valuables, take pictures of them and store in a safe place.   
  • Off –Campus residents may also want to contact the U.S. Postal Service to suspend residential mail delivery while away.



  • Notify your family and friends of your travel plans (departure/arrival times).
  • Give them the phone number and address of where you’ll be staying (if not going home) and/or who you are traveling with.
  • Fully charge your cell phone for your trip.
  • Notify family or friends if you are delayed because of car trouble or traffic problems along your route.



  • The 511 system is a one-stop resource for all the information you need for making your travel plans.  The 511 system has real-time traffic conditions, route planning and information about alternative ways to travel without a car.
  • You can access the 511 system from any phone (dial 511) or computer at http://www.511virginia.org/
  • You can check for travel conditions outside Virginia at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo/
  • Before leaving for break, check your travel route for any delays or major road construction projects.
  • If you are delayed, call 511 or check https://www.511virginia.org/to get an alternate travel route.


The kit should include:

  • Cellular phone fully charged. Cell phone car charger.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Map of travel routes
  • Basic tool kit
  • Set of jumper cables
  • Blanket & warm clothes



  • Top off vehicle gas tanks
  • Have vehicle serviced on a regular basis
  • Check the air in your tires
  • Get plenty of rest before driving


Look out for your neighbors and call the local police if you observe suspicious activity.  If you’re in Harrisonburg over the holidays, local police can be reached at;

Call 911 for emergencies or on Campus 540-568-6911

For additional public safety information visit our website at  www.jmu.edu/publicsafety

Stay current on COVID related information at https://www.jmu.edu/stop-the-spread/index.shtml


Thank you and have a safe break!

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Published: Thursday, December 16, 2021

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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