From Sheriff Javier Salazar, Bexar County Sheriff’s Office
Everybody loves to post pictures like this from vacation, and why not? You work hard and you absolutely deserve some time off. The problem is you don't want to advertise to the world you are out of town and your home is unprotected. Believe it or not, criminals can and do monitor your social media. "We are having a great time in Paradise for the next few days!", is like blood in the water for criminals.
If you do go out of town, here are some tips.
• Keep it quiet! Don't tell anybody outside your most trusted inner circle. Save the vacation pics until you return.
• The best bet is to make it look like your home is currently occupied. Have a trusted friend/neighbor/relative come to check on your place at least daily. They can turn different lights on or off. They can also leave a TV or music on at different times. If there is no car left in your driveway, ask your trusted friend to park an extra car there at your home from time to time.
• If you receive the newspaper, pause your delivery, and also pause your mail delivery. Try not to have packages delivered in your absence. Have your trusted friend remove any newspapers, packages, handbills, or flyers from your door every morning. Posting flyers is actually a common way for burglars to check if people are home. If they place a flyer on your door and it's still there several days later, they know there's a chance nobody is home.
• Be mindful of trash pickup. Make sure your trash cans are not left out by the curb.
• Have someone try to keep up with lawn maintenance if your absence is extended. Again, DO NOT tell any landscaping companies you will be out of town.
• Make sure all doors are locked, and alarms are constantly set. Security cameras on all sides of the home are a must. Security lighting on the perimeter of your home should be turned on/off daily by your trusted friend or set on timers. Constantly leaving lights on your outside perimeter could be a signal to potential burglars that nobody is home.
• It's also a good idea to not leave valuables inside the home. Jewelry and large sums of cash should be in a safety deposit box at your local bank. Firearms should be removed from the home and kept somewhere safe until your return.
• If your home is currently on the market, pause any showings for the duration of the time you'll be out of town. Not every potential buyer who asks for a walk-through of your home is an actual buyer! Also, you don't have to tell your real estate company why you're pausing showings—just that you don't want showings for a certain time period.
• Call your local law enforcement agency to ask that a patrol drive by on your residence. They will ask who should be there, which cars will be in the driveway, and dates of departure and return. They will then send a patrol officer or deputy to go by the house daily. The BCSO non-emergency number is 210-335-6000. SAPD is 210-207-7273.