KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - A word of warning from Knoxville police as we enter into the summer travel season: Be cautious, prep your home, and don't post to social media when you travel for vacation.
Officers wanting all of us to be more cautious as a way to protect our home and belongings from burglars.
Everyone knows to lock their doors and windows, but Knoxville police say an officer will come out and do a security survey before you leave for vacation.
"Where they walk around, look at your doors, locks, windows, provide recommendations securing your home a little bit more. Look at trees and shrubbery and also lighting,"said Lieutenant Brian Bush with KPD.
Officers say there are common-sense things people can do so that while they're away, they're not burglarized, such as hiding our valuables in unconventional areas and keeping a list of those valuables. It's also a good idea to set times on your lights.
It's suggested you alert your alarm company and program your alarm before you leave. Lieutenant Bush says you can also sign your home up to be on a property watch which is a free service.
They'll send out a notice to the beat officers: 'Hey this homeowner is going to be out for this amount of time. Increase your patrols in the area.' It just increases officer presence in your neighborhood and it's a great thing."
A bad thing many homeowners do while on vacation is share pictures and statuses on social media.
"When you post this stuff online, it really opens up the opportunity for people to see where you're at, that you may not be home and really invites someone to take advantage of you,"added Lieutenant Bush.
Officers say just keep your home looking like someone's at home.
"A burglary is very intrusive and it's one of those things that really violates a person's space. Try to take some steps on the front end before that can happen,"added Lieutenant Bush.
Most law enforcement agencies in East Tennessee provide a similar property watch service. Simply call your local agency and provide your address, phone number and how long you'll be gone.
The Knox County Sheriff's Office number is (865) 215-2243 and the Knoxville Police Department's number is (865) 215-7268.
Outside your home, there are safety precautions you can take.
While you're away schedule either a trusted neighbor or lawn care business to keep up with your landscaping, collect all spare keys you may have hidden around your home, stop newspaper and mail deliveries, lock your garage and secure any entrances into your home, and consider outdoor lighting set to a timer.