Securing Your Home For the Holidays - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Securing Your Home For the Holidays

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WMDT 47 News - Wednesday is one of the busiest travel days of the year. Lines are growing at airports and traffic is building up on highways. If you're getting out of town for Thanksgiving, you don't want to come home to any unfortunate surprises. If you don't take proper precautions, your home could present an open invitation for criminals.

Locking your doors and windows and setting the alarm system are a given when you're away for the holidays - but what are some of the things we don't really think of? Whether it's having a neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers, or having someone take care of your trash cans, taking these simple steps can help prevent you and your family from becoming a victim of burglary.

"The big thing is to make your house look like normal activity is going on, and folks are living there," Lieutenant Tim Robinson of the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office said.

Another common mistake people make is leaving the porch light on. "One thing that seems fairly innocent, can actually have the opposite effect. Many times when folks go out, they'll leave the porch light on knowing they're coming back after dark. Something in my experience I have found is, nothing screams that you're not home than a porch light on in the middle of the day," Lieutenant Robinson said. It's best to use lights that have a timer.

It's also recommended you keep valuables out of plain view, and don't leave empty boxes on the curb. "Temptation is a big motivation sometimes for people committing a crime. Nothing tells the rest of the world what you just got for Christmas then what you leave on the curb for the trash man," Lieutenant Robinson said.

As we get further into winter and begin to get some snow, you don't want to be that one house without any footprints or tracks in the driveway - having that neighbor who will take care of those things for you is invaluable.

But most importantly, don't believe that your invulnerable to this kind of criminal activity. By taking these few simple steps, you can prevent a lot of heartache.  

This warning isn't just for homeowners and families. The same recommendations hold true for college students heading home for break. Salisbury University Police tell WMDT they're teaming up local law enforcement to ramp up patrols. They plan to work around the clock, securing buildings and checking areas both on and off campus.

"We're encouraging students to make contact with those police agencies, request extra patrol to check those areas. They'll actually go and physically put you on a list and check each of the residences to make sure they are secure," Lieutenant Sandra Bradley said.

Police say the hot items criminals tend to go after are game systems, stereos and computers. So, it's best to take those valuables with you or leave it in a secure place.

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