INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Michael Rothman and his roommates are on edge again.
“This house actually got broken into over Thanksgiving break,” said Rothman. “Our TV and video game system was taken out of our living room.”
The 50-inch walked right out Rothman’s door by a criminal taking advantage of the Indiana University-Bloomington campus turned ghost town. And in just a few days, houses there will empty out again.
With Bloomington’s local schools on spring break too, the city will be fairly empty too.
During spring break everywhere, would-be burglars know just what to look for to get in and out of your home with your valuables.
Criminals have more opportunities to find empty homes, with fewer neighbors watching out.
As many of you prepare to take trips soon, brings us tips to make sure your home isn’t next on a criminal’s list.
“People know that people are gone from their apartments and they’re gone from their houses over spring break and so there’s opportunity,” said long-time resident George Keller.
To help people avoid becoming targets, Bloomington Police is now sharing its vacation do’s and don’ts for social media.
“You should delay posts, taking those pictures and posting things when you get back,” said Captain Steve Kellams. “Say we just had a great vacation, here are some of our photos. Those are all great ways to make sure that you’re not tipping off to people that you’re not there.”
The best tip Bloomington Police Department can give, they say, is an old-fashioned one. Make sure your car and house doors are locked, so criminals don’t have an opportunity to get in.
Rothman says he and his roommates are taking that advice seriously this time around.
“We definitely, we locked down the house as well as we could,” said Rothman. “We made sure all of our windows were locked, made sure all the doors, we lock all the individual doors in the house, to make sure even if someone gets in, that they can’t get into all of our rooms.”
But sometimes locking up isn’t enough either.
Kellams says 50 percent of their car burglaries involve locked cars.
To keep people from breaking a window to nab your expensive gadgets, he suggests hiding them well, in parts of the house or your car that aren’t visible from the street or road.
Over the past several years, Kellams says BPD's increased patrols during breaks and its education efforts to help people prevent their houses from being broken into have led to a decrease in burglaries during campus breaks.
Here are the 13 tips from BPD:
- Lock down your house.
- Don't let mail and newspapers overflow.
- Use timers for your lights.
- Keep the lawn mowed.
- Keep your driveway active.
- Don't hide a key in an obvious place.
- Stop checking in on social networks.
- Keep your blinds in their normal position.
- Don't change your answering machine message.
- Ask a trusted neighbor to watch your house.
- Move expensive items out of sight.
- Request extra patrol from the local police department.
- Install good outside lighting.