Headed out of town for the holidays? Tips to keep your home safe

Lock doors and ask neighbors to keep an eye on things, authorities suggest

If you are planning to leave town for Thanksgiving weekend, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office has some home protection tips. 

Authorities say it’s a popular time for thieves to strike when they know a lot of homes are unoccupied.

So what can you do to avoid becoming a victim if you are leaving home unattended to celebrate the holidays?

“The most important thing we can do is neighbors looking out for neighbors,” said Chuck Mulligan, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. 

That means you should find a neighbor you can trust to keep an eye on your house and pick up your mail and your newspaper to give the illusion that someone is home.

“I know all my neighbors, so if I go out of town, I let them know, and we keep each other informed,” Northside resident Steven Hybbeneth said.

Mulligan said residents should always make sure all house doors are locked and suggests buying inside and outside lights that run on a timer. 

And authorities recommend that if you have a security system, you should use it.

“We just simply get complacent and don't use them,” Mulligan said. “When you leave your home you should ensure that all of that is done.”

If you recently purchased any valuable items, authorities said you should not put the packaging out in the trash where it is visible and a potential thief could get an idea of what kind of valuable items you have inside your house.

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