Traveling over the holidays? It’s fun to get out of town and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year with family or to go all-out on vacation. You’re having a blast and feeling all merry … until your home has been burglarized.
Lt. David Sabin of the Oxford Police Department offered five tips to protect your home from an invasion while you’re out of town. You’ll want to be sure these tips are at the top of your “before-you-leave” checklist.
1Keep Travel Plans Offline
It’s exciting to get out of the house for some much-needed travel time. And boasting about your getaway on social media, like you do about everything else in your life, may seem fine. After all, they’re your “friends.” But Sabin says absolutely not.
“All that does is advertise that you’re going to be out of town and lets criminals know,” Sabin said.
Keep it off Facebook, people.
2Notify a Friend
Having a friend, or even a neighbor, check on the house while you’re gone is a great idea. They can be sure nothing’s out of place, and if it is, they can notify police immediately.
“If you don’t leave any lights on when you’re out of town, and [neighbors] look over and your kitchen light’s on, they know that that shouldn’t be on,” Sabin said. “Or if there’s a car in your driveway that shouldn’t be there, they would see that and be able to call us.”
Don’t be a Scrooge. Sometimes neighbors can be your best friends.
3Hide Your Christmas Gifts
This may seem obvious. But leave the curtains open to show off your beautiful Christmas tree, and criminals will want to know what’s inside those pretty little packages under the tree.
“Criminals look for a crime of opportunity,” Sabin said. “They’ll look through the window and want to break in. If that present looks like a new laptop, they’ll go grab it. So we encourage people to hide gifts if they’re going to leave town.”
4Remove Spare Keys
You know about the old “hide-it-under-a-rock.” Toss that one out the window. Believe it or not, criminals know where to look for your spare keys.
“If someone gets your spare key, then you’ve got to rekey your whole house,” Sabin said. “So take that with you.”
Give it to a friend, parent or neighbor, but do not leave it on the property.
5Perform a Security Check
This is the one most folks forget, Sabin said. You need to do a complete walk-through before you leave your house, or a burglar just might crawl through the one window you forgot to check.
“This is for a car, too,” Sabin said. “People go around checking door handles. You leave your car door unlocked, they’re going to open it. They won’t go through the trouble [if it’s locked]. They don’t want to set off a car alarm, and same thing with your house. So we ask people to just do a 360 of your house. Walk around, make sure there’s not open windows or unlocked windows, and same thing with doors.”
And when you walk out the door to go on your trip, be sure you completely close the door behind you.
Lock out crime this holiday season. To report suspicious activity, call the Oxford Police Department at 662-232-2400. In the case of an emergency, dial 911.
By Randall Haley, associate editor of HottyToddy.com. She can be reached by emailing email@example.com.HERE!