KENT COUNTY, Mich. -- A warning for those of you planning to take a vacation for spring break as the Kent County Sheriff's Office says this is a time when criminals see your home as an opportunity.
"We often do see a little uptick in activity related to theft and burglary especially around these heavy vacation times, Sgt. Joel Roon with the Kent County Sheriff's Office said. "It’s a time of heightened awareness for us. "
Officials say it's best to keep items like iPads, purses and laptops in a secure place while you are gone and install a home surveillance system.
"Video surveillance is kind of a gimme. All of it is web based now. It’s relatively inexpensive. You can get cameras now for twenty dollars that you can view from anywhere in the world. So we do suggest inexpensive video systems especially those that can retain their video for a period of time. So that we can look at it later if need be. Doorbell cameras are great as well," Roon said.
You can alert your local police station that you will be out of town so extra patrols can keep their eyes out and have your post office hold the mail while you`re out of town so no one knows by your mailbox that you`re not around.
As tempting as it may be, you don`t want to post anything about your trip - where you`re going or how long you`ll be gone on social media.
The sheriff's office says it`s about giving the impression you're home so you can enjoy this new season wherever you are without worry.
"It`s not a bad idea to have a checklist of the things you`re doing to prepare to go on vacation for a couple reasons. One, so that you can do it again the next time when you go on vacation, but secondly so you know what to undo when you get home. So you can look at that checklist and say oh I pulled the spare keys in, I`m going to need those someday, and remember to put them back out. So a checklist is always a good idea."
The sheriff's office also says you should also consider asking your neighbors to take out your trash so it appears there is activity in your home while you are gone.
"We would encourage you to talk to your neighbors. If you have trusted neighbors that you can let know you’re gonna be out of town, let them know. They can call us if they see a suspicious vehicle in your driveway. Something that looks out of place, we always want those phone calls and we’re happy to stop by and check on your property," Roon said.
The sheriff's office also says the best detour besides home surveillance is a loud alarm which will likely scare off criminals if it goes off.
If you are going on vacation, you can register your home with the sheriff's office to have deputies patrol the area by visiting this website.