FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Multiple law enforcement agencies report an increase in home break-ins during the summer months, though the cause of the heightened activity is not clear.
Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone speculates that a majority of those burglaries are committed by young males under the age of 26 during the time school is out of session.
On his Facebook page, the sheriff wrote, "Most burglars are looking for an easy target where they are unlikely to encounter any resistance and a minimum likelihood of detection. As such, they often try to time the break-in when no one is home, and vacation time is a good time for them."
"While there is no foolproof method which will guarantee you will not be a victim of a break-in while at work or on vacation, there are some common sense steps you can take to reduce your vulnerability," Sheriff Boone insists.
These are the tips he offered:
- Anything to leave the impression that you are at home generally helps prevent break-ins.
- A well-kept yard and home send the message that someone lives there and cares about the home.
- Cut the grass before leaving on vacation and keep trees and shrubbery low to eliminate hiding places for burglars.
- Don't leave the trash can on the street all week while you are gone.
- Notify the postal service and the newspaper to suspend your mail and paper service while you are gone, or have a trusted neighbor to remove the mail, flyers and newspaper until you return.
- Install and advertise an alarm system and motion activated outside lights. Given the choice of breaking into a house with or without an apparent alarm system, most burglars will choose the one without.
- Use timers to activate interior lights and electronic devices to mimic someone living in the house.
- Don't post your vacation plans or photos on social media until you return home. While it may be cool to send real time photos to friends on Facebook of you enjoying that tropical sunset, it tells the crooks you won't be home for a while.
- Have trusted neighbors keep an extra eye out while you are gone. Have them report any suspicious activity on your property to law enforcement.
- Ask a trusted neighbor to park their vehicle in your driveway while you are gone.
- Program your telephone answering machine to answer after just a few rings, and record a message that does reveal that you are away.
- Leave blinds and shades in the normal, lived in position.
- Anyone going on vacation can contact the Florence County Sheriff's Office to have their residence placed on the Property Watch List.
WMBF News Reporter Ken Baker will have a full report on WMBF News at 5 and 6 on how to protect your home.