Summertime is the season when many families plan out-of-town vacations, but it can also be a time when burglars use that opportunity to break into temporarily empty houses.
In order to help prevent travelers from having a good vacation ruined by coming home to discover their home has been burglarized, officers with the West Plains Police Department have offer some preventative tips for those planning to leave the area this summer.
"If you are planning a vacation, the West Plains Police Department wishes you safe travels and a fun, enjoyable vacation and invite all to share these helpful tips in order to prevent yourself or someone you know or love from becoming a victim," said Public Information Officer John Murrell, on behalf of the department.
Travelers should make sure their home is locked and secure before leaving. This includes all doors, windows, garage doors and anywhere else the house could be accessed. All valuable items that could be easily carried off, such as bicycles and lawn chairs, should be moved into the home, a garage or other locked storage.
Those leaving on vacation should et a trusted neighbor or family member know when they will be gone and ask them to check on the house periodically. It's a good idea for travelers to have a trusted person pick up mail, packages, newspapers and any other deliveries while they are gone, or have the post office hold mail, say officers.
Residents can also install a simple home security system such as a doorbell camera which can be accessed by cell phone or other mobile device. Officers also recommend leaving a couple of lights on inside the house.
Those living in West Plains may also contact the police department by calling 256-2244 to request extra patrol for their home neighborhood while on vacation. This is a service provided by police departments many may not be aware of, officers note.