Safe-proof your home and avoid vacation becoming ‘open season’ for burglars

Crime Stoppers offers tips on ensuring home security while away B.C. Day long weekend

The B.C. Day long weekend is one of the most travelled weekends of the year, and Crime Stoppers is urging homeowners to take a few extra steps to protect their property from criminals while away from home.

“August long weekend is the number one weekend that people go away on vacation and leave their houses vulnerable to break-ins,” Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers’ executive director Linda Annis told Black Press Media outside a home in Cloverdale Wednesday.

From cracked open windows to leaving the spare key underneath a favourite porch ornament, Annis said that while most of her tips seem to be common sense, homeowners and renters across B.C. are simply forgetting before taking off for a weekend.

“We get comfortable in our homes and our neighbourhoods,” she said. “We put security cameras out that are meant to prevent crimes but most of the time burglars don’t see them. We may get their images after the fact, but because we’re so comfortable we get careless about home security.”

Break-and-enters have been decreasing over the years in B.C. Still, in 2017, there were 26, 318 known break-and-enters in the province. Of those cases, less than one in 10 incidents resulted in someone being charged with the theft.

“It happens everywhere. There are little signs that people don’t even think about,” she said. “If you live in rural B.C. and … you’ve got a mailbox at the end of your driveway, does somebody pick up your mail or your parcels? Are those overflowing? That’s another sign there’s probably nobody home.”

Other common mistakes include leaving a ladder leaning against the side of a home, leaving a note for a delivery person about being away and leaving the front gate unlocked on larger properties.

Annis said it also doesn’t hurt for nearby residents to keep an extra eye out for their neighbours and report any suspicious activity to police, by calling Crime Stoppers or using the new P3 app. The P3 app allows for anyone to report a crime anonymously and upload pictures, phone video or documents alongside the tip.

Ahead of the B.C. long weekend, Crime Stoppers has released a home safety checklist so anyone can safe-proof before hitting “go” on vacation mode:

  • Leave your house with a “lived-in” look
  • If ordering merchandise online, make sure the package is delivered well before you go away, so it doesn’t sit on the doorstep. Also cancel newspaper and bottled water deliveries.
  • Ask a trusted neighbour to collect your mail, and maybe have them park their car in your driveway.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors, and set security alarms. This includes garage doors. Use timers on lights and leave radios on to create the impression that someone is still home.
  • Don’t leave a spare key outside under a mat or flower plant pot. Better to leave the spare key with a trusted neighbour or friend.
  • Once you’ve left, don’t post public messages on social media that will tip off any shady characters that you’re far, far away.
  • Don’t reveal your holiday plans to strangers, not even the cabbie or bus driver taking you to the airport.
  • Anyone you do tell, make it sound like you have a house sitter… whether you do or not.
  • Don’t put your full home address on your luggage. A postal code is good enough.
  • If you normally leave bicycles, yard tools, ladders outside or in your shed, lock them in the house or garage.
  • Trim trees and shrubs near windows and entries, and clean up before you leave – don’t give burglars a place to hide.

@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rossland woman, 64, completes marathon bike ride across Asia

Brenda Trenholme completed the 13,000-kilometre trek last week

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

COLUMN: Meet Todd Coyne, our new editor

Todd Coyne takes charge of five Black Press newspapers in the West Kootenay

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Prank pizzas delivered to B.C. mayor on election night

The fake orders happened throughout Victoria mayor’s re-election campaign

MLA to become Nanaimo’s next mayor, could weaken NDP’s grasp on power

Leonard Krog’s win will trigger a byelection when he gives up his provincial seat

Horvat nets OT winner as Canucks beat Bruins 2-1

Young Vancouver star had spirited scrap earlier in contest

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Most Read