Rural Crime Prevention Program
Vacant Home Check Program
Did you know that if you are out of town, you can sign up to have an M.D. Peace Officer add your house to their daily patrol route?
M.D. residents heading out of town during the holiday season can sign up with our Public Safety department to have one of our Peace Officers check in on your property while you’re away from home.
Call 780-812-3332 to sign up for the Vacant Home Check program. Click here for the Vacant Home Check waiver.
Please note, this program does not mean you hand over your keys to a Peace Officer. Peace Officers will not enter your home/business/outbuildings. Officers will go to your property, and make sure it is still secure.
In the meantime, Dan Hansen, a peace officer involved with our Rural Crime Prevention Program has a few tips to help deter thieves this holiday season.
1. Make Sure Gifts Aren’t Visible From Outside
This is a common sight during this time of the year – a frosted window with a beautifully lit Christmas tree, and a pile of gifts beneath it. This sight is enough to make a potential intruder size up your house. Make sure that your tree and gifts aren’t visible from outside. Remove temptation and you reduce the chances of your home being broken into.
2. Watch What You Post on Social Media
Potential thieves are like hawks on social media. They look through posts for information on the gifts people have received, or when they plan to leave their homes for Christmas shopping or for vacation.
The information you choose to post online can be used against you. Try not to post about valuables that may be in your home under the Christmas tree, or when the house will be empty.
3. Be Careful About Disposing of Packaging
If you’ve received gifts during the holiday season, you may get so caught up with enjoying them that you don’t pay attention to disposing of the packaging. If you put it in the trash, which ends up on the curb waiting to be picked up, you’re basically telling the whole world what is inside your house.
Thieves are always on the lookout. If possible, take packaging directly to a recycling depot.
4. Make Sure Your Home is Well-Lit
Remember, thieves love operating under the protection of darkness. When visibility is low, they can do whatever they please while knowing that no one will be able to see what they are up to.
If your house is well-lit, the chances of any intruders accessing your property are reduced. Make sure you have floodlights or motion-activated lighting around the exterior of your home.
5. Put Your Lights on a Timer
Another quirk that thieves are known for is getting down the perfect time to break into a home. They do this by watching for signs of inactivity or absence of occupants.
Put your Christmas lights, as well as some lights on the interior and exterior of your home on a timer. With these lights on, a thief won’t feel so sure about the fact that your house is empty.
6. Make Use of Motion Sensors
Motion sensors trip when they detect movement around a certain perimeter. They can activate lights, or an alarm. Setting up motion sensors on your property is a good way to effectively deter anyone from trespassing or breaking into your home.
7. Be Wary of Door-to-Door Donation Seekers
During the holiday season, many people will be seeking donations for various charities. Unfortunately, you can’t be sure whether these individuals actually represent the organizations that they claim to. It could be a sham where they try to get some money out of you, or they may carry out some form of a survey from which they can try to determine when would be the best time to break into your home.
Caution: Be wary, do not give out any personal information, and don’t give out any money without properly ascertaining their credentials.
8. Secure Your Home
Last but not least, make sure your home is secure during the holiday season. Check your windows and doors to make sure all locks are intact. If you don’t have one already, consider investing in a home security system which will protect your home and your family.
Christmas season is a merry and busy time. Unfortunately, trespassers and thieves try to cash in on the spoils of the season by breaking into homes.
By taking these steps, you can effectively reduce the chances of becoming a victim to theft.