As we quickly approach the Christmas Holiday Season, I would like to focus on ways to protect ourselves when we travel, our credit cards when we shop, and our families when we are out and about at the many different activities we attend.
As we start, lets first talk about protecting our home when we are away traveling and visiting with family or friends. Regardless, if you are going to be gone for days or hours, it's important to not let potential criminals know that you are not at your home and, even more importantly, where they can find you. The rule of thumb is very simple: If I know where you are, I know where you are not!
For that very reason, please remember the following suggestions when going on vacation or away from your home for any reason:
Never tell anyone other than trusted family, friends or neighbors when you are going out of town.
If you call to stop your newspaper delivery or mail, you have just alerted everyone who works at the Post Office and Newspaper that your home is going to be unoccupied during the specified dates. That information may be inadvertently shared with someone who decides to burglarize your home while you are away. A safe alternative is to have a family member or trusted neighbor collect your newspaper and/or mail to keep them from piling up.
It's always a good idea to leave information where you can be contacted in case of an emergency with a neighbor who can keep watch over your house.
When away for extended periods of time, try to leave your house with the appearance that you are still there. For example, ask a trusted neighbor to use your garbage can on trash pick-up day so that it appears you are at home as normal.
Other great examples are:
1. Use automatic timers to rotate several lights, radio and television rather than leaving a single light on in the house. Select different rooms in the house to have the lights turn on and off at various times.
2. Don't close all of your blinds and drapes as that not only looks different than normal, but also gives concealment to a burglar if they were to get inside your home.
3. Have the neighbor park their car in your driveway.
The last thing we will discuss is the importance of never announcing on Facebook or other forms of social media that you are going to be away from home for any period of time. While social media is a great way to share exciting information with your friends, it can also be used by criminals to track your whereabouts. Here are some safety measures to keep in mind when using Facebook during the holidays:
1. Never check in at locations while out and about
2. Never announce on Facebook that you are going on vacation or leaving your home
3. Never post Facebook photos of yourself at parties or while shopping
4. Never post photos of gifts such as jewelry or other expensive items
5. Never post photos of yourself at vacation destination places (if you want to post the photos, do it when you return home with a caption that says "Had a great time on vacation but glad to be back home.")
And lastly, before you post anything on social media, please ask yourself this question: Does this post alert anyone to where I am so they could target me if they wanted to do me harm?
I know that sometimes Crime Prevention methods can be time consuming and restrictive, but our overall goal is to protect you and your family so that you can have the most enjoyable holiday possible. The Crime Prevention steps you take today to protect yourself and your family can easily be the difference between having a great holiday season or being the victim of a crime.
Brevard County Sheriff