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Tips Offered To Protect Your Home While You're On Vacation

Reported: May. 21, 2014 4:28 PM EDT
Updated: May. 21, 2014 11:49 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Darrah Wilcox) --The Memorial Day weekend usually serves as the kickoff for the summer vacation season. It's a time for many folks to take a break from the daily grind and get away from home for a few days, but FBI statistics also show an increase in burglaries during the summer months.

Statistics show nine out of 10 break-ins may have been prevented through a few simple steps.

"Don't make yourself an easier target that what you already are," Cabell County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Doug Ferguson said.

He said first, make sure all your doors and windows are locked.

This includes a garage door entrance, and you may want to take it a step further.

"If you have an automatic garage door opening system, you may want to disconnect that system and lock it from the inside so it can't be opened with a remote control," Ferguson said.

Ironton resident Holly Howerton said she has a few tips.

"I let my neighbors know that I'm going to be out of town and they keep an eye out for me. I have a really good group of neighbors and community watch," she said.

Experts said it's good to tell a trusted neighbor, friend or family member to check on things.

Corie Willett also follows that advice.

"When we go on vacation, we tend to contact close friends or family members to have them drive by, keep an eye on the house," she said.

If you don't have anyone nearby, the Cabell County sheriff's office offers the "Keep Check" program. Just call them with your address and the days you'll be away, and they'll do a couple checks while you're gone.

"We do try to do that periodically for them, either day shift, evening shift or midnight shift," Ferguson said.

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office and Charleston Police have similar programs, like many law enforcement agencies.

Keep your perimeter well-lighted. You may not want to leave just one light on, but think about buying a timer to give the appearance someone is home.

Here are some definite DON'TS:

Don't post vacation plans or pictures online.

"It's probably not that wise to let them know until you get back," Howerton said.

Don't let newspapers or mail pile up.

"We'll make sure someone comes by and gets the mail and puts it inside, because that's another indication that you're not there," Willett said.

You can also stop newspaper and mail service temporarily.

Many of the tips seem like common sense, but just taking a few extra minutes to check them off your travel "to-do" list could give you the peace of mind you need for a more relaxing vacation.

"Just taking those extra steps is just that added security," Willett said.



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