Column: RCMP offer up summer vacation crime prevention tips

submitted by St. Albert RCMP

St. Albert RCMP is hoping all residents have a fantastic summer, enjoying the longer days and warm weather but they also want to remind the Community to be safe. Criminals do not take vacations so protect yourself when you do.

Here are some tips to keep your property safe while you are away:

Seek the assistance of your neighbours to keep an eye on your house while you’re away. Request that they drive by once every day or two and provide them a key in order for them to check inside as well. Request that they park their secondary vehicle in your driveway so it appears someone is home during the overnight.

Don’t announce vacations on Social Media sites such as Facebook or Instagram. Many people announce their excitement for a two week vacation online, check in on Facebook from the airport and then proceed to post photos from their destination. This is a criminal’s dream come true as you have given them your complete itinerary and a golden opportunity to burglarize your home.

Keeping your blinds/curtains drawn shut while you’re away obviously defers criminals from peering inside your home, however if your blinds/curtains are usually always open then this could be perceived as uncharacteristic for your home. Should you choose to leave your blinds/curtains open while away, ensure all valuables such as jewelry and computers are out of sight from the window. Also ensure all windows are left closed and locked – even second floor windows.

Leaving lights on in the home while you are away makes it appear as if someone is home, however there’s no need to leave every light on while you’re away. Consider purchasing a light timer to make it appear as if someone is inside. It will also be easier when your electric bill comes in the mail. Timers can be purchased online that can be controlled via your smartphone to manually turn lights on/off while you’re away avoiding a simple pattern found in basic timers. Consider having that neighbour also retrieve your mail and flyers. An overflowing mailbox with last weeks flyers is a clear indicator that nobody’s home. If you’re out of town for an extended period of time consider having Canada Post either redirect or stop your mail during that time.

Make sure your residence appears that it’s owners are still home while you’re away. Ensure that you landscape the day before you leave, cut your grass lower to ensure it will last looking kempt for the duration of your vacation. If you leave a key hidden outside under a mat or plant in the event you misplace your keys, first of all, find a better hiding spot, secondly, make sure you place that key inside while you’re away. If a criminal manages to confirm that you are out of town they have all of the time in the world to search for an outside key for easy.

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