REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI) - As summer vacation approaches, local law enforcement agencies are reminding us of some important steps we can take as we prepare for our vacations. Officials say the summer season is a spike in the amount of home break-ins due to the larger amount of empty homes.
Sergeant Isaac Payne a spokes person with the Madison County Sheriff's office says an old trick may not be as clever as we hope.
"It might seem like a clever idea to hide a key near your home, but it's not actually the most secure. If you're going to leave the key somewhere, leave it with a neighbor, leave it with somebody you trust and that way you have access to it," Payne said.
He says in the case of emergencies, by leaving that key with a trusted person will also allow "emergency responders can have access to it as well."
Officials also say if we plan on making a big trip to not post our plans on our social media before, or while we are gone. They say this can tip off people to the fact that you will not be home. Sergeant Payne says in most cases the burglars are "looking for low hanging fruit or the easiest target."
He says the best thing to do is make it harder for your home to become a target with some simple steps.
"The simple things like motion sensing lights, cameras, which are much more affordable now, than they used to be, you can attach cameras to your home. The ring doorbells are great. Things like that make your home a harder target if you're going out of town," Payne said.
"If you have a spare car, leave it in the driveway, leave your external lights on, or have a motion sensor light on. Have someone mow your grass while you're gone. Even pick up your mail," he said. "These are all things that make it appear as though there's someone at home. And this isn't just an empty home waiting to be broken into."
He says this will all make it look like some one is in the home and reduces the likelihood of a home break-in.
Sergeant Payne says just because you are enjoying your vacation, doesn't mean you can't have a little extra comfort knowing your home will be taken care of.
"You can also let your dispatch center know that, 'hey, I'm going out of town. 'That way they can note that in their log that no one should be in there. Or if they see anything, they can they can let their responders know," he said.
He says this will also help law enforcement in regards to your home.
"If you let us know when you're going to be gone and then we can assign people or task people to go out and just kind of do a security check on that area once in a while, make sure everything's safe and secure and they can do that once a day. You can just request it. However, however much you want, obviously are, you know, kind of have to respond to emergencies. But if they have the availability and the manpower, they'll go check on your home while you're gone."
He says having the prior knowledge that you are gone, if they drive by and see something weird near your home they will be able to check it out when otherwise they may not know.
"If we see somebody in your home or on your property that we it wouldn't be suspicious to us. But if we know that you're going to be gone now, it is now something we can investigate and take care of."
Sergeant Payne also says when you're staying at home, you can do what is known as the 9 p.m. routine.
"Getting the routine every night, turning your porch light on, locking your doors, lock your windows at night, you should just go through that routine and make sure all those things are secure. Make sure that your vehicles are locked and secure."
Sergeant Payne also added all of these tips will apply, whether you are a renter or a home owner.