With the holidays just around the corner, the thoughts of many turn towards family, friends and gifts. The thoughts of many thieves and robbers, however, turn towards homes and property unoccupied while families are out of town, shopping or participating in other activities. With that mind, The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office wants to pass along some information that will help homeowners protect their homes and property during this time of the year.
“Our desire is to help keep our citizens safe so everyone can enjoy this special time of the year,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “We know that many families will be traveling for Thanksgiving, Christmas and for other holidays and special events. Many criminals will see this as an opportunity to take advantage of our citizens. We hope these tips will be useful to help everyone protect their property and homes from crime.”
Below are some tips and precautions that homeowners can take to protect their homes and property during the holiday season:
1. Make sure your burglar alarm system is activated before leaving and putting signs and window decals of an alarm system on your windows. Many alarm companies have aps and information on their websites that allow those who are away to monitor their alarm systems while they are away.
2. Make sure your exterior motion lights are working, especially at the corners of a residence. It might be a good idea to install motion lights if you have not already done so. Also, you may want to place timers inside your home to activate lights, television sets and radios at various times during the day. You may want to leave a TV or radio on at all times and put radios on all talk stations. Also, consider installing game cameras on your property or one of the many camera systems that are activated when someone rings your doorbell that sends a message to your phone so you can view who has rang the doorbell, whereupon you can speak with them.
3. Make sure all your doors and windows are locked and having dead bolt locks on all exterior doors is a good idea.
4. Placing beware of dog signs on your property, even if you don’t own a dog.
5. Have someone pick up your mail or newspapers. You may want to a call your postal carrier and have the mail stopped for the time you are away and call your newspaper provider or carrier to stop newspaper delivery while you are away too.
6. Don’t post on social media sites that you are gone and don’t post pictures of your trip on social media sites until after you return home.
7. Don’t record that you are out of town or on vacation on your answering machine.
8. Have a friend, family member, or neighbor check up on your home while you are away, or ask someone to house sit for you while you are away. If you see something that looks suspicious around your neighbor’s home or property, contact law enforcement immediately. Always remember: If you see something, say something!
9. Do not place presents or expensive items, such as jewelry or electronics, in plain sight in your vehicles or in your homes that are visible through windows. Lock presents and expensive items in the trunk of your vehicle when you are traveling or in a room in your house that has a door lock on it.
You may also want to consider calling the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office or your local law enforcement agency if you live inside the city limits of a municipality to check on the possibility and availability of extra patrols in your neighborhood while you are away. One bit of information you can pass along to law enforcement would be what vehicles should be on your property.