In 2012, Spring Break break-ins were up 33 percent for both homes and student housing complexes.”Spring break can be a time where we see a spike in burglaries and property theft,” said Boone County Sheriff’s Department Detective Tom O’Sullivan.The key to keeping burglars out of your home is to make it appear someone is there. Police say you can buy different devices that can turn your lights or TV on and off automatically to give the appearance someone is still home, but it’s not the only way to protect your home. “A lot of little things you can do that will add up and give you piece of mind while you’re on vacation,” Det. O’Sullivan said.The first step in tricking a burglar is to turn on a few lights. Keep lights on outside the house and turn on lamps inside while leaving a car in the driveway or park it on the side of the street. Law enforcement advises people to tell a trusted neighbor when you leave and when you come back so that someone can help keep your house safe. The neighbor can keep an eye out and alert officials if something does happen while you’re away. You can also stop your mail deliver or ask the same trusted neighbor to check your mailbox and pick up any newspapers.”Nothing says a house is empty like a bunch of newspapers in the front lawn or mail bulging out of a mailbox,” said Det. O’Sullivan. Police also want everyone to remember to keep all doors and windows locked. When a burglar tries to break in, they look for certain items, including electronics, jewelry, firearms, cash, or anything that is small and of significance. Those are all items that can be traded easily for drugs or cash. Columbia police say be cautious about who you tell your vacation plans. They advise you should never announce your travel plans on your answering machine, email or social media. For extra security, you can call your local law enforcement agency and ask for a ‘watch and passing.’ Police will periodically drive by and check on your home while you are away.
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