SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — If you're planning on going out of town this week, you're not alone -- an estimated 7 million Californians are planning on traveling more than 50 miles from home during Thanksgiving week, according to AAA.

But as you're scarfing down stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy at grandma's house, you may be leaving your home open to burglaries.

Here are five tips from the Sacramento Police Department to protect yourself from home burglary during the busiest travel week of the year.

Consider installing an alarm. 

A 2018 study by the University of North Carolina Charlotte found that 83% of burglars check to see if there is an alarm or other increased security measures before deciding to break in. Roughly 60% of the burglars surveyed said they would reconsider burglarizing the home if they saw an alarm.

"Close proximity of other people (including traffic, those walking nearby, neighbors, people inside the establishment, and police officers), lack of escape routes, and indicators of increased security (alarm signs, alarms, dogs inside, and outdoor cameras or other surveillance equipment) was considered by more burglars when selecting a target," the study says.

Use lights inside and outside the home.

Officers recommend using timers to turn on lights inside and outside of the home in order to give the appearance that someone is inside.

"Make your house 'hard,'" Sacramento Police Department says. "That is, make it seem difficult for a burglar to break into. If the burglar perceives it as difficult to enter, chances are he/she will try somewhere else."


Park cars in the driveway.

Cars in a home's driveway often indicate the presence of people and can deter thieves. If you're taking your only car on a road trip, consider asking a friend or family member to park their car in your driveway while you're gone.

Roseville Police Department officers recommend removing your garage door opener and hiding it in a safe place while your vehicle is parked in your driveway in order to deter vehicle break-ins.

Stop mail and newspaper deliveries.

Newspapers piled high and an overstuffed mailbox is a dead giveaway that nobody's home. Pause your mail service and newspaper delivery service to prevent signaling that you are out of town.

Check to see if your local police department has a Neighborhood Watch program.

Neighborhood Watch groups are often formed by community members in order to fight and prevent crimes in their neighborhood. Police teach group members the necessary steps to reduce crime, and members are encouraged to be the "eyes and ears" of the department.

There are more than 300 active Neighborhood Watch groups in Sacramento, according to the Sacramento Police Department.


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