Thieves look for what police term "targets of opportunity,” otherwise known as an “easy target.” There are many things you can do to avoid becoming one of these, especially when you are going to be away from your home for an extended period.
- Contact Officer Dana Reeves with the Rowlett Police Department by email or at 972-412-6242 before leaving and request that your home be added to the Housewatch List. Your house will be checked periodically while you are away. Home/Business Watch Application
- Double-check second-floor and basement windows, areas which are often forgotten.
- Make sure that exterior areas will not give your absence away. Arrange to have mail and deliveries either stopped or picked up by a neighbor.
- Leave a car in the driveway. Have outside lights turned off and on with a home timer. Arrange to have the lawn cut and the bushes trimmed.
- Have several timers attached to lights in various locations throughout the house. One timer can be programmed to turn one light on and off several times during the evening. Several timers performing the same function can give a very "lived-in" look to a home.
- This same practice with home timers can be utilized with TVs and radios, giving an added sound element to the "lived-in" look.
- Ask your neighbors to check your home regularly, and leave a number with them where you can be reached. Also ask neighbors to use your garbage cans. Spotters for burglars sometimes work for trash collectors. Ask neighbors to also pick up handbills or circulars.
- While it is advisable to notify police and a neighbor of your planned absence, don't tell everyone about your plans. Don't leave notes on the door for neighbors, deliverymen, etc.
- Make a list by serial number, date purchased and price of expensive items. Keep the list in a safe place, not in your home. While doing so, mark valuables with an engraving tool.
- Doors and windows should be equipped with deadbolt locks, rather than spring-bolt locks.
- Cancel mail and newspaper service to your home or ensure someone is collecting it. (House Watch service does not include mail pick up or newspaper retrieval)
- Never indicate on 'social media' your plans for your vacation, especially dates of departure and return. You can always wait until you return to 'post' those wonderful vacation photos.
If You Have A Break-In
If, upon returning from your trip, you spot evidence of a break-in, do not enter the house. Call the police at once! The burglar may still be inside.
Free Home Inspections
The Police Department's Crime Prevention Section offers a free "home inspection" which can reduce your insurance premiums in some cases. For more information, contact Officer Reeves at 972-412-6242 or by email.