Many Nova Scotians are counting the days until March Break arrives. If you plan to travel during the break, Nova Scotia RCMP would like to offer some tips to home owners to help deter thieves from being tempted by unoccupied homes. “We often see an increase in crimes like mischief and theft across the province at this time of year,” says Cpl. Dal Hutchinson of Nova Scotia RCMP. “Thieves are often looking for crimes of opportunity and an unoccupied home can be an easy target.”

Here are a few things to consider before you head out the door and forget about winter for a while:

Phone a friend – Having someone check on your property while you’re away is great to make sure it looks like someone’s around, and also, if there’s a problem with your home, they can let you know right away.

Lights on? Lights off? – Simple, inexpensive light timers can help keep things looking normal at your home when you’re not there. Consider purchasing light timers and use them with lights near windows in your home, particularly ones that are visible from your road or street.

Social media status can wait – As tempting as it is, avoid updating your status on social media with your travel plans. As well, posting selfies from the beach is probably telling a savvy would-be thief the same thing. Save those updates and pics for when you’re back home – and back to reality.

Curtain call – If you don’t usually close curtains or blinds when you’re closer to home, it’s probably not a good idea to change things up when you’re going to be away for a while. Take a look around your home,  and make sure there’s nothing really tempting that’s visible. For example, car keys are often stored close to the door. It’s a good idea to keep them out of sight.

You’ve got mail – Maybe you’ve got mail, the newspaper, or other items that have been dropped off while you’re away. That helpful friend who’s checking on your property would be a great person to ask to make sure mail and newspapers don’t get left around. This applies to snow removal too. You might want to consider bringing them a souvenir!

Last but not least – It’s about taking steps to make your home look occupied. Many Nova Scotians are proud to call their communities safe – places where you don’t need to lock your doors. The reality is, if you make your home look occupied when you’re away, and your home and vehicle doors are locked, those opportunistic would-be thieves will take a hike as well.

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Abby Cameron
Abby Cameron is the Editor of The Weekly Press and the Laker. She grew up in Shubenacadie and loves serving her home community. She has been with The Weekly Press for almost 10 years. In her spare time she enjoys kayaking, coaching, and spending time with her partner and two dogs.