Don’t be a target for criminals

Published 9:32 pm Sunday, July 2, 2017

Social media and summer go together. Kids doing backflips in the pool? Post it on Facebook. Burgers turn out perfect on the grill? Tweet a shot out to your followers. Gone on a fabulous vacation? Keep that to yourself, police say.

As breaks get underway, many families plan vacation get-aways and fun in the sun, but those posts on social media not only tell everyone where you are, they tell people where you aren’t.

When you post those vacation shots, you’re basically telling anyone who sees the post that your house is probably an easy target for a burglary, said Commander David Johnson of the Brookhaven Police Department.

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Johnson said he takes that so serious that it’s a rule in his house and also with his adult children. “You don’t post anything on social media until you’re back home,” he said.

Even when you are home, police advise you to use extra caution. Just because you’re near your house, doesn’t mean you won’t be a target, he said.

Burglars can look in the backyard and see families hanging out at a cookout or relaxing in the pool and they can go in the front door and get away with a families’ — and their guests’ — valuables.

Lock the front doors even when you’re home, Johnson said.

“You should keep your house locked at all times, whether you’re home or not,” he said. “We even keep our alarm on and activated even when we’re in the house.”

Johnson said he sees an increase in car burglaries during the summer. When the weather is warm, more people are walking around at night.

“Practice good car security,” he said. “Don’t leave any valuables in your vehicle at night.”

And keep the doors locked.

“The vast majority of car burglaries are cars left open,” he said.

The National Crime Prevention Council offers the following tips:

At home:

• Be aware of what’s happening in the neighborhood.

• Lock your doors, including the garage door. Unlocked doors are open invitations to intruders.

• Ask a trusted family member, friend, or neighbor to keep a watchful eye on your home or have your mail held at the local post office until your return.

• Put lights on timers to give the impression that someone is home.

• Don’t post on social media that you are leaving town, and wait post photos after you return from your trip.

On vacation:

• Lock your room and remember not to give out your room number or invite strangers into your hotel room.

• Be friendly but be vigilant. Watch for and report any suspicious behavior.

• Plan your route — stay within well-traveled routes and walk in groups.  There’s safety in numbers.

• Keep your belongings secure. Purses should be securely closed, backpacks are zipped, and wallets are kept in your front pocket. When dining in restaurants do not hang your purse or backpack on the back of your chair.

In the car:

• Always lock your doors and roll up your windows when you leave your car.

• Do not leave valuables in the car.  If you must leave prized possessions in your vehicle keep them out of sight or hidden in the trunk.

• Before you get into your car, check the backseat and around the car.  Lock your doors once inside the car.