How your home could be an invitation to burglars

Homeowners should make the house look like it's occupied and avoid posting vacation pictures on social media until they return

it’s the time of year when criminals are more likely to find empty houses with families on vacation.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Burglaries increase during the summer months, and it’s not just because of the warmer weather. It’s the time of year when families go on vacation and criminals can find more empty houses.

There are a few things you can do so thieves are more likely to bypass your home.

“People want to take steps to give the appearance that someone is home. Would-be criminals are looking for signs that a house is empty,” said Canfield Police Chief Scott Weamer.

That means cutting the grass before you go and keeping some lights and the TV on.

Let the local police department know the house will be empty for an extended period of time. Weamer said if officers know a house is empty, patrols will check in on it.

“That could be upwards of up to nine times a day that someone is going to drive by and check, and we know what to look for,” Weamer said.

He warns against leaving a key to your house anywhere outside the property. Criminals are savvy and schooled in finding them.

“A lot of people have a fake rock, or they hide them under the door mat or flower pot. Criminals are going to look in those spots,” Weamer said.

Having a full mailbox or newspapers sitting on your doorstep is a sure sign that no one is home.

“If there’s three newspapers laying on the front porch, that’s pretty obvious that no one has been home in three days to grab the newspaper,” Weamer said.

You can put mail service to your house on hold while you’re gone.

“You can come into the post office and pick up a hold card, fill it out. We do it as little as three days and as much as thirty,” said Roseanne Thompson from the Austintown Post Office.

You can also put your mail on hold online for free.

Another precaution to take before leaving for vacation is to shut off the main water line in your basement to avoid a break.

“Water line breaks, depending where it’s at, the size of the pipe…it can cost you anywhere from $300 to $400, to $6,000 or $7,000,” said John Rowland with Roto Rooter.

Police say the worst thing you can do is broadcast that you’re away by posting about your vacation on social media. They say you should wait until you get home to share pictures.


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