With the holiday season almost here you could be making plans to leave town. But, those who want to take advantage of your absence may also be making plans. News 13 and the Bay County Sheriff's Office has advice on what you can do about it in this Problem Solver report.
In the coming weeks stores will get busier with gift buying and other activity. As part of the preparation travel plans may be finalized. If you will be away this season…take a few simple precautions before you leave to make sure your property is safe.
Bay County Deputy Tim Bowen coordinates the Neighborhood Watch Program for the Sheriff's Office. He says, "First thing that comes to mind is the simplest...make sure everything's secure. Lock your home, lock your gates, your out buildings…check windows people might leave a single window open and that's all it takes. Deputy Bowen also says, "Let relatives and neighbors know your schedule if you will be away from home. If you belong to a Neighborhood Watch, let the block captain know that you are going out of town and the people within your block that you are leaving for however long."
You may not realize how important it is to secure your chain link fence. According to Deputy Bowen, "Criminals are notoriously lazy. If they see something as simple as a lock on the gate and their neighbor doesn't have a lock (on theirs) where do you think they are going to go first?" Securing garages and other out buildings also need to be considered.
The Bay County Sheriff's Office is also offering the holiday house check program this year. Someone will check your home while you are away...it is a free service. Call the Sheriff's office to put your address on the watch list 747-4700.
And one more thing, officers say to think twice about putting pictures and other information about your out of town trip on facebook and other social media while you are still out of town away from home.