Tips to protect your home before you go on vacation

Tips to protect your home before you go on vacation
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The warmer temperatures outside are a sure sign that summer vacation time has arrived. While a lot of people are no doubt busy making their plans, not everybody is thinking about what they leave behind.

The last thing you need after taking a relaxing trip is returning home to find you've been the victim of a criminal act.

Summer is a busy time of year for Randy and Taneki Mayes and their three daughters.

"We usually go to Florida at least twice in the summertime," said mother Taneki Mayes.

With plans to head out of town this family of five isn't just thinking about what they will take with them on their trip.

"We have security system. There are cameras around the house. So we can watch it from the phone," said father Randy Mayes.

Tony Garrett with Central Alabama Crime stoppers says the Mayes family has the right idea.

"This is the prime time for burglary, theft, you name it. There are a lot of things that increase," Garrett said.

Criminals do not need much time to make you a victim.

"Someone can break in to your house set off the alarm and be gone within two to three minutes before the police even get the call," said Garrett.

Here are ways to protect your home while you are away:

1. Remove any hidden keys from outside.

2. Contact USPS to have your mail placed on hold. A full mailbox tells a criminal that you are not home.

3. Place your newspaper on hold.

4. Place lights, lamps, radios, and televisions on timers. It will appear like you are home.

5. Be sure to lock doors, windows, garage doors, storage sheds, and gates prior to leaving your residence.

6. Remember to set your security alarm system if you have one.

7. Have a close trustworthy friend or relative check on your residence while you are away.

8. Avoid posting vacation plans for everyone to see. Criminals use Facebook too.

"When people are away they like to take photos of where they are. That is good and bad. It is giving someone a good indicator that you are not at home," said Garrett.

The volunteers in police services provide courtesy vacation home checks.

You simply dial 311 on your phone to request this service several days prior to your departure.

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