Protecting your home from burglaries

Is your home safe while you're gone on vacation?

It is the time of year when people get away from it all, and a time when burglars can get away with all your belongings. Kirksville Police Department Chief Jim Hughes said if you want a stress-free vacation and donâ??t have a home alarm system he has some advice.

â??I have three pieces of advice that will cut your chances of getting your stuff stolen in half,â?? Hughes said. â??Number one, lock your stuff. Number two lock up your stuff and number three lock up your stuff.â??

Police Chief Jim Hughes said be mindful of who you tell things to.

â??People will brag about something new that they bought to a neighbor,â?? Hughes said. â??And, that neighbor is never going to break into their house, but that neighbor will mention it to somebody else, who mentions it to somebody else...and then somebody will hear about this brand new gun safe that you have; and it's four or five generations removed from that original person who saw it yet their going to go by and go to the exact place where the gun safe is and steal it,â?? Hughes said.

Other than being aware of whom you tell things to Hughes also suggest getting to know your neighbors, so that if you do see something suspicious or your neighbor sees some suspicious activity at your house they will call the authorities.

â??Let trusted neighbors know youâ??re going to be gone,â?? Hughes said. â??Have somebody come by and pick up your mail, mow your yard, change lights if need be and make sure that it doesnâ??t look unlived in. Thatâ??s the key thing is that it looks lived in.â??

Look at your home and see where a thief might be able to get inside without being visible from the street. In 2011, 118 homes in Kirksville were burglarized. Hughes said other than a concentration around the university, they are fairly well scattered around town.

He said some of the spike in 2011 was because of college vacation breaks earlier in the year. Hughes said the department put some hard work later in the year on prevention of these burglaries and were successful.

Avoid the temptation to tell everyone on social media you are on vacation. Those types of posts on social media basically advertise that you are not home. Finally, lock all your windows, doors and gates. The harder your home is to get into, the less likely it will be a target for criminals. A tip for those who love social media, there are apps you can use to keep an eye on your house.

To see how burglaries in Kirksville compare to other crimes click HERE.