Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The Richland County Sheriff's Department is warning residents of an increase in home break-ins.

The Richland Sheriff's Department says there have been multiple break-ins at the Woodlands Apartments over the past several days. Sheriff deputy's credit the rise to the spring weather and families vacationing.

Ben Jumper, a sophomore at USC, has lived at the woodlands in Columbia since August. Tuesday night, his apartment was robbed.

"Someone just came in and opened the windows up. Just quiet enough they didn't even wake the dog, they stole the TV and xbox," said Jumper.

While Jumper was home at the time, Richland County Sheriff's Department says they are seeing a rise in robberies of homes where the resident is away.

"You just never know who's going to know you are out of town," Lt. Rafael Gonzalez says before you go out of town, you should let a friend know or even the Richland County Sheriff's Dept.

"We've got members on the community action team that will come out and actually do a security survey on your home. It's basically a security assessment," said Gonzalez.

To further protect your home while on vacation, Lt. Gonzalez says to make sure you keep your lights turned on. Have a friend pick up your mail or newspapers. And always make sure you've locked all doors and windows.

"Bad guys do not want to have a hard time trying to enter your home, so if you make it difficult for them, they're not going to try to break into your home," said Gonzalez.

As for cases like Jumpers', he says he feels violated, hoping that sheriff deputies make an arrest so he can press charges.

You can always contact the Sheriff's Department before you take that spring time trip. Richland County says they will patrol the area of your home twice in a 24 hour shift. You can contact the Richland County Sheriff's Department by calling 803-576-3000.

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