Are you tipping off crooks your family is on vacation?

Although I love seeing real-time photos and commentary on Facebook from friends traveling it also worries me, they’re just letting crooks know “Hey come rob our house. We’re out of town!” (Here’s a round up story on the trend and tips to stop it. The Leaf Chronicle.)

(Also here is another news story about how Atlanta is embracing Facebook faster than any other metropolitan area!)

I guess Facebook is safer than Twitter because in theory it’s only “Friends” seeing your feed whereas Twitter goes out to the world.

I had to ask Michael to please stop posting on Twitter: “Getting on a airplane for Phoenix” or “Assigned for two weeks to Washington, D.C.”  I’m sure criminals read those posts as: “My wife will be home alone with three kids!”

I commiserated PRIVATELY by email on Facebook with a CNN wife recently when her husband was sent for weeks to California to cover Michael Jackson and my husband was sent for weeks to Washington, D.C. to work on the Sotomayer coverage.

There are also low-tech ways to tip off criminals your family is away on vacation:

People always say not to let your newspapers or mail build up, but do you worry when you put on stop on your newspaper or hold on your mail that now you’ve told someone you’re going to be out of town? My parents always had neighbors pick up the mail and papers but that’s a bother for a long trip.

I kind of like doing putting the holds on through automated services, but then the carrier does know it’s been held.

Do you put lights on timers to help throw criminal off? Our former neighbors were very big on the lights on timers. My mother always did that too.

A few years ago, our new neighbor made a point to pull his car into our driveway several times during our vacation week so it looked like there was traffic in and out, which I thought was extremely nice!

Do you worry about people knowing you’re away on vacation or do you think that is paranoid? Do you post real-time commentary and family photos from your trips on Facebook or Twitter? Do you think one is safer than the other? How do you handle mail, newspapers and lights? What are other tactics to throw criminals off your scent?

58 comments Add your comment

We do all of the above when going on vacation...

July 23rd, 2009
7:26 am

…but the real worry when on vacation is a water hose breaking and flooding the house – this happened to our neighbors a couple of weeks ago, doing some $25K in damage to their home.

Regarding Twitter and Facebook, I am just too “low tech” for these – why should anyone care whether you are “just getting on the airplane, or having coffee”, blah, blah blah. Facebook I can understand a little better since it is a bit more efficient than emailing, but I still prefer to pick up the phone if you need to talk to someone about something important. And, I only carry a cell phone because my office told me I had to have it – and they suppy it!

Andrea

July 23rd, 2009
7:32 am

In the times we live in, you must always be vigilant. The Internet can be used for unscrupulous purposes, like anything else. I do think people are really “oversharing” when it comes to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. We grew up with the old adage that you never talked outside of the house. Well, that has certainly gone away, as people now invite others into every aspect of their lives via the Internet. We have become a nation of voyeurs. With the popularity of webcams, you can literally look at different aspects of people lives. It truly amazes me at the amount of information people put on the internet. But, I digress.

As for the topic, I don’t post in real time to Facebook or Twitter. If I am going to be out of town, I have my mail held at the post office. With the availability of online news, I haven’t subscribed to a newspaper in years (although I do buy the Sunday paper for the coupons!). I do let my neighbors know when I am away and I also have family members check the house. There is only so much prevention you can do. I just try to stay prayed up (as my grandmother would say)!

fk

July 23rd, 2009
7:38 am

We recently went away and I did not post anything on FB for quite some time. Then, one of my FB friends asked (in a post on my wall) if everything was okay…I had not been on in two weeks! People are definitely watching! I would never post indicating that we would be out of town. We have a friend bring in our mail and paper while we’re away, and use timers. (What happens if the power goes out and then the timers may be off by 5 or something???) My friend waters my plants, so someone is checking up every couple of days.

Becky

July 23rd, 2009
7:51 am

We have our mail held intil we get back, I leave a timer on and the neighbors keep a watch on the house..We have three cars,so there is always one in the drive way, plus I have a family member come by and check the house..Other than family and coworkers, noone knows that we are gone…

MomOf2Girls

July 23rd, 2009
7:57 am

We just returned from vacation, and yes, I was worried! We had our next door neighbor take in the mail (don’t get the paper), left my car in the carport, have lights on timers, and alerted all of our friends on the street (of course, 3 out of 7 said “oh, we’re going away too” – talk about a free-for-all if a crook found out!). We’re pretty paranoid around my area because we had a rash of break-ins a couple of years ago (well over 50 houses and 75 cars before the kids were caught). I thought I had covered all of the bases, but missed the Facebook thing. I don’t do FB, but hubby does, and I come home to people saying “glad you had a great time doing so-and-so in such-and-such”. Turns out he was posting to FB everything we were doing, and I had no idea! Fortunately, there was no harm, no foul, and the house was just as we had left it (looking like a tornado struck in the form of me rushing to get everything packed and on the road). Andrea has it right – bottom line is, do what you can, and pray!

motherjanegoose

July 23rd, 2009
8:15 am

I just thought about this yesterday, as some on this post do tell us when they are leaving and coming home.

When WE go out of town, I never tell everyone on this blog exactly when we are leaving or returning…that would be nuts….to me. When I am going for business, that is different as my family is in and out of our house at all times.

I had someone tell me this years ago, when you are at the grocery store or bank etc. DO NOT SAY YOU ARE GOING OUT OF TOWN. Those folks can figure out where you live and while you may trust your banker or stylist, there are others who can gain access to your address after you leave.

We have neighbor kids who watch our house and are in and out with our dog. I always tell them that if ANYTHING looks fishy….call me!

JJ

July 23rd, 2009
8:20 am

I don’t worry about stuff like that. Also, how does a criminal looking at my facebook know where I live? I don’t post my address on it…….I’m very careful about what I post.

I have a neighbor come in and take care of my animals. She picks up the mail, and the newspapers. I’m close with my neighbors, and we all look out for each other, so I don’t really worry. But if someone were to break in, everything can be replaced, and I’m fully insured. It’s all material possessions anyway. I don’t have a lot of valuables, some jewelry, but it’s all hidden. IF someone wants my TV they can have it, I can buy another.

My biggest worry when I’m away, is what if something happens to one of my animals.

Other than that, I don’t borrow the drama or worry about stuff that can be replaced, while I’m away. I go on vacation to get away from everything. There is nothing I can do if I’m 300 miles away, other than trust my neighbors to take care of something if it were to happen. And I know they would, and I’d reimburse any expenses when we return.

I think it’s very important to know your neighbors. After all, we are going to be neighbors for some time, since we all own our homes. And most of my neighbors have been there longer than we have. It’s a great neighborhood, with some great neighbors!!!!

So, no I don’t worry. No stress, no drama!!!

motherjanegoose

July 23rd, 2009
8:33 am

JJ….my husband never gave out his SS number either BUT someone in CA opened a credit card in his name and used it to purchase electronics. It had our exact address on it and we had never even seen the card. NOT fun to clean up. SO YES, I DO WORRY! Now, we have Lifelock.

How does a criminal in CA figure this out about us in GA? I have no idea. Probably the same way someone can look on Facebook and figure out things about you and everyone else…they breach data bases.

I am not particularly worried about any of my possessions but I do not want to come home to a ransacked house or someone in my house with a gun. I try to be careful whenever I can not paranoid…just someone who knows what can happen.

April

July 23rd, 2009
8:54 am

The GBI recently did a presentation for parents on cyber safety at my school. The focus was on keeping kids safe. However, it highlighted just how easy it is to get information on people through the internet. The agent walked through how a criminal could quickly get the address or school of a student starting with a facebook or chat room encounter – less than 20 minutes just using free and common search tools.

I am not on FB because I don’t think what I eat for lunch or what I put in that coffee is that interesting. We do all the common things to safe-guard our house, and we have a security system. The main reason for the security system is to prevent the intruder in the house scenario that MJG described. However, I think at some point you just have to pray and let go of the worry.

FCM

July 23rd, 2009
9:00 am

Use good sense and judgement…Would you post a big sign “NOT HOME” in the yard? Then don’t do the electronic version either….on the other hand don’t be overly paranoid (insert Jonas Brothers video here).

Also, Get Schooled is running a great blog today.

FCM

July 23rd, 2009
9:05 am

It might be just me….but isn’t posting a vacation in the blog letting people know too?

Elizabeth

July 23rd, 2009
9:08 am

I don’t post pictures until after I return home.

I don’t post on Facebook often anyway so no one misses me when I’m gone. Besides only my circle of friends has access to my comments anyway.

some guy

July 23rd, 2009
9:10 am

agree with JJ. theres not likely some guy hiding in the bushes across the street marking down what time your lights go on/off and checking your mailbox every day to see if youre home. if someone really wants to break into your house theyre going to. id rather it happen when i wasnt there and everything can be replaced. no need to be super paranoid.

CC

July 23rd, 2009
9:12 am

Yes, we leave lights on timers and have the mail held while we are out of town. I don’t post daily on Facebook and I don’t post when I am going out of town (or while out of town). I post something when I return.

itamazesme

July 23rd, 2009
9:16 am

No such thing as paranoia in today’s unsafe world. I had major surgery in December and knew that I would be recuperating at my Aunt’s home who would be able to give me care. My cousin lives in my home and at the time so did my younger sister. Both them had the horrible habit of leaving the door unlocked and neither of them had a vehicle. My vehicle was not there as it was with me at my aunt’s house. Hindsight 20/20, I should have left my car in the driveway. However, In January, after I had been gone well over a month, two men walked into the unlock door in the afternoon and screamed out “hello”. My sister came out of her bedroom and asked them could she help them. They fumbled and stated that the owner of the house had called them about making repairs to the home. Well, they both knew that was the untruth. They actually screamed out hello, and expected no one to be home. My driveway being empty and the unlocked door (which they discovered when they tried it), was an open invitation. Needless to say the door is locked constantly now, and if I have to ever leave for an extended amount of time again, I will make sure I leave my car in the driveway. The police were called yet the two men were never found.

momof5

July 23rd, 2009
9:17 am

First let me say that you CAN make your Twitter acct private. When we went on vacation we signed up for the vacation check program offered by the city police, put our mail on hold & told our neighbors we would be gone. Think of all the people that knew we were gone & we hardly told a soul! If a crook wants to get into your house bad enough I don’t think it would matter who knows or doesn’t know that you aren’t home.

motherjanegoose

July 23rd, 2009
9:18 am

FCM…exactly my thoughts when folks ( on blogs) tell us the exact details of when they are leaving and when they are coming home.

Re: catlady saying common sense is not so common anymore.
I chant this to myself every day when I am out with those who act like dingbats. Thanks catlady for sharing!

Off the wall question but related somewhat to today and yesterday;

I try to tidy the house up before we leave on a trip. My husband thinks this is CRAZY. I do not like to come home from a trip, to a messy house…anyone else?

Also, I like to do the laundry at the condo while we are on vacation, instead of coming home to a week’s worth of dirty clothes. I just pop it in before we head out to the pool or dryer while we are showering, as we have rent 2 condos we like that have w/d inside the unit.

Just wondering…..

Belle

July 23rd, 2009
9:20 am

We get a house-sitter to take care of the animals. So I’m not worried about anyone breaking in. My neighbors know when we leave and to expect a certain person to be coming and going but if any other activity goes on they will call me.

new mom

July 23rd, 2009
9:50 am

I still haven’t done facebook yet, despite getting teased by some friends about it. I just don’t have the time or inclination to worry with it! My husband finally started one a few weeks ago and said he was bombarded by requests of ‘friends’. He tweets for his career, but I sure don’t think I’d have anything interesting to share (our daughter ate all her cheerios today, yipee!) I don’t like that he talks about when he’s speaking at conferences out of town on his website, knowing we are at home, but he has to do that I suppose. There is no personal information on his website, even on his bio, about his family or hometown. Of course crooks can find anything they want online, but we at least try to make it hard for them. :)

When we decided to upgrade our outdoor lights a while ago, we chose the ‘dusk to dawn’ fixtures that automatically come on when it’s dark, off when it’s light. That way we never have to remember to turn on our outdoor lighting, they aren’t on unnecessarily, and when we’re gone, it looks the same as when we’re home.
We always keep both our vehicles in our garage, with our garage door closed, so that doesn’t change when we’re gone either. On a scary note, a few nights ago my husband saw something suspicious outside–a wrecker parked in front of a neighbor’s house, and a man walking down their driveway, shining a flashlight into one of their parked cars there. When he saw my husband he took off….We called our neighbors and they were home, and had no idea what was going on just outside their door. I know not everyone has a garage to keep their vehicles in, but if you do, you should use it! It would really be easy for someone with access to a wrecker to pack up a car and take off with it.

Grammaw

July 23rd, 2009
9:53 am

This may not have anything to do with vacations, but with criminals in general. Whenever I make a large purchase like a t.v., appliance, computer, etc., I NEVER leave the boxes on the curb. (This is particularly true at Christmas.) When crooks see these boxes, they know exactly what you have in your home. I always smash the boxes, and take them to the incinerator. When you put them on the curb for the trash collectors, it’s like a huge neon sign saying “LOOK WHAT I HAVE!”.

jct

July 23rd, 2009
9:55 am

I don’t update my every move on FB like some people so I don’t necessarily worry about someone figuring out my whereabouts from FB.

I do let my neighbors know that I am away. We have an animal sitter come in to look in on the cats. We secure the house, have an alarm but if some is going to break in I don’t think that they will wait until we are on vacation.

@MJG – I don’t think your crazy. I do the same exact thing. As I stated yesterday, we normally have very active vacations so the last thing I want to do is clean up when I get home. I don’t want to be streesed by an untidy house after destressing with a vacation.

jd

July 23rd, 2009
9:55 am

I have one myself, but burglar alarms are merely a deterrent. After a family member had a home broken into they were beating themselves up for not having the alarm armed. The police told them it makes no difference to a determined burglar. It simply limits the amount of time they have inside your home. He stated that burglars know if an alarm sounds or the phone rings after entry they still have 5-7 minutes to grab items, before the police can arrive. I’m sure that is affected by the proximity of the house to available units as well as the sophistication of the alarm system. Still, it’s a scary thought.

Grammaw can't be from Atlanta...

July 23rd, 2009
10:01 am

…there ain’t no incinerators around here wince about 1980 when the clean air stuff became a big deal!

Noelle

July 23rd, 2009
10:20 am

For the online things, the important thing to me is just not to give out too much personal information to the public. The name and e-mail address I use here aren’t my primary ones. I have a Twitter and a public blog, but they just say I live in Atlanta. My Facebook has more information but is locked down to friends only (and I’m picky about who I approve).

In other words, it’d take a long series of connect-the-dots for someone to track me down, and if they’re that determined, they’ll do it anyway. I’m much more concerned about random burglary than online sleuthing.

JoeV

July 23rd, 2009
10:22 am

I always feel like somebody’s waaaaaatchin’ meeeeeee….

Annie

July 23rd, 2009
10:22 am

Do you stress over everything??? If someone’s gonna break into your home, they’re going to do so regardless whether you’re home or not. Set your alarm, and hope for the best. And quit stressing over every little detail!

Joe

July 23rd, 2009
10:22 am

Did you or any editor even read this once before posting it?

HB

July 23rd, 2009
10:33 am

Personally, I don’t worry too much about Facebook. I actually know all my friends on there (I don’t “meet” new people there), and I don’t list my address. Is that foolproof? No, but I just can’t imagine someone going to the trouble of cyberstalking just to know when I’ll be gone from my little apartment for a few days. I think there are far more likely ways to get robbed. I do think light timers, stopping mail, are a good idea, because I would think most break-ins are crimes of convenience, like a crook checking out a street one night and breaking into the house that looks empty. I fight with my apartment complex all the time about the notices they slip partway under our doors. That’s a sure sign of who hasn’t come home yet! ID theft worries me more, though. Someone stealing a credit card application from your mailbox, a restaurant server stealing your CC number when you pay, a database you didn’t even know had your info getting hacked…now those are everyday likely dangers. I light of all that, Facebook really seems no more dangerous than being spotted leaving your house with a suitcase.

Rod

July 23rd, 2009
10:51 am

I do travel sometimes for business to interesting places. However, I only mention them on my facebook when I get back. Like: Had a great time in Seatle, blah, blah, blah. I’d never post: Headed to Seatle for business for 2 weeks! I think my wife would kill me for that one!

jd – true, the crook would still have 5-7 minutes in the house with an alarm sounding. However, neighbors are more likely to look out to see what’s up and spot the van/car and get a tag number. It’s not like a car alarm at the mall – nobody pays attention. If your neighbor’s screeching alarm is sounding, you look!

TKH

July 23rd, 2009
11:04 am

I agree with Noelle: I’m more concerned about random burglary than someone tracking me down online. I’m not naiive enough to think it’s ok to put all my personal information out there for anyone to see, so I keep my Facebook at the highest privacy setting (which is also nice because if someone you don’t want to be FB friends with searches for you, it says you haven’t joined) and I use my brain when it comes to sharing info. But I’m more worried about identity theft than home robbery from online info. We’re new to our neighborhood, not close enough to the neighbors yet to trust them to watch our house and we don’t have light timers, so I worry a little but not much. We lock all the windows and doors and leave our stuff knowing it’s just stuff and we don’t need to spend all vacation worrying about it.

Off topic a little, but I must say – I absolutely HATE how some feel the compulsion to update their status or twitter with everything little thing they do. Maybe they have really, really close friends who care about their life in such detail, but I highly doubt it. Get over yourself.

motherjanegoose

July 23rd, 2009
11:05 am

@ jct…may I keep this and repost any time I get ragged on?

@MJG – I don’t think your crazy.

LOL

Jim

July 23rd, 2009
11:05 am

Wow! Y’all worry too much. If you actually go ask a police investigator, they’ll tell you that most home break ins go like this:

Bad guy sees a house with no cars. Knocks on door, if someone answers, he pretends to be lost or something similar. If no one answers, he tries door. If door is unlocked, he goes inside, helps himself. If door is locked, he either kicks in that door, or walks around the house looking for a door/window that’s obscured where he can force his way in.

Obviously, if you have 15 papers in your driveway, that makes it a giveaway, but the odds of the crook just happening to pick your neighborhood when you’re on vacay are slim-then again, I don’t live downtown, so your odds may differ:-)

Myself, I drop the dog off at the Kennel, stop the mail, and TURN THE WATER OFF AT THE MAIN SHUTOFF and turn the water heater to pilot only when we go. That’s about it.

To me, the chance that someone is going to take the time to figure out who you are and where you live from your twitter/facebook that it’s not worth the worry. There are too many other people out there making it easy for them by leaving doors unlocked, etc…

Ashley

July 23rd, 2009
11:08 am

I’m very careful about personal information on Facebook. I don’t have pictured of my child on there. And I also don’t refer to my child by name, when I talk about my child to friends (I only have FB friends I actually know and have either met in person or been vouched for by a relative).

And since I’m a teacher, I also don’t post anything on FB that I wouldn’t want my superintendent or principal to see or read about.

You can’t be too careful, both personally and professionally.

Ima Nidiot

July 23rd, 2009
11:18 am

Leave a pair of muddy size-14 work boots by the front door, with a note that says “Hey Bubba, gone for some shotgun shells and food for the pit bulls, back in ten minutes. Watch for them snakes, they’re loose in the house again.” But seriously, when I go out of town, I hire a pet sitter who brings in mail and junk-papers, arm the alarm, have the lights on timers, and the eight CCTV cameras keep an eye on things….other than that.

HB

July 23rd, 2009
11:37 am

Down in the little town where I grew up in South GA, I recently heard the police chief recommend that women living alone leave a pair of men’s work boots and a dog dish by the backdoor. Seriously, it’s probably a pretty good deterent.

Becky

July 23rd, 2009
12:10 pm

My sisters laugh at me all of the time because I lock my car doors and my house..I have one sister that never locks her doors and most of the time (summer) she leaves her back door open all day so that her dog can go in the house while she is at work..In 25 years, the only thing that has ever been stolen from her was stolen by a family member..Go figure..That is my biggest worry..Not strangers stealing from me, but family.. I have a brother and sister that neither one are allowed in my house just for this reason..

About 6 months ago, I left the bank, stopped to get ice cream, locked my purse in the car (15 feet) from me..While I was at the window getting ice cream, I saw a car stop at the curb, saw a guy get out..Didn’t think that much about it..When I got back in my car, I found out that they had jacked my lock and took my purse..Filed a police report and that was the last that I heard anything about it..

DB

July 23rd, 2009
12:15 pm

It is truly amazing/disturbing how much you can find out about people on-line — I did a lot of research in a former job, getting background on people for my boss prior to business deals, and it’s all out there — where you donate your money, where you may have gone to school, what political party you may be partial to, how much you paid for your house, your mortgage, how many refinances — which may point to a pattern of financial issues . . . and this is without Facebook, where people simply volunteer it freely!

My Facebook page is private, and only shared with family and a few chosen friends — the same people that I would share vacation and graduation pictures with, which, honestly, is just about the only thing I post. I have a few friends I am seriously considering “unfriending” on FB, because I am sick to death of their constant urge to tell the world that they don’t want to do laundry (geez, who DOES?), they just had dinner and are watching a DVD . . . WHO CARES?!? Personally, I think we need to teach our kids how to maintain personal boundaries — there’s something a little unsettling about having your entire life out there for perusal.

As far as vacation, I have to admit, my biggest fear is coming home and seeing the house burned down. Don’t ask me why — I’ve never experienced a house fire — but I have to admit, I always peek through the woods as we are driving home, and always feel just a little bit of relief when I see the house still there :-) It’s irrational — my neighbors would call me immediately in case of a problem — but still . . .

JJ

July 23rd, 2009
12:17 pm

MotherJaneGoose – I clean my house too before we leave for vacation. I don’t want to come home to a dirty house either. And if possible, I do laundry before we come home. I don’t want to deal with that when we get home late at night, and I have to be at work the next day. I also run the dishwasher the night before we leave, so I don’t come home to dirty smelly dishes. AND take the garbage out.

Becky, on nice nights, I leave my sliding glass door to the deck open, with the screen door shut. There are no stairs to my deck, and again, I have two dogs with mean barks…….therefore, I don’t worry…….sometimes I have gone to work and left the basement door unlocked, and some times when I bring the dogs in at night, I forget to lock it behind me. My front door is usually locked (as we go in and out through the garage), but I have gone to sleep many nights leaving it unlocked……

motherjanegoose

July 23rd, 2009
12:57 pm

@Becky…I had my purse stolen from my teacher desk drawer one week before Christmas over 20 years ago in a very small town in Texas. Good thing I had my shopping done….LOL…as I had no use of credit cards and no I.D.

If you have ever been robbed ( of anything) , you think differently about things. Kind of like not worrying about cancer until someone close is diagnosed…which we have on both sides of our family. I am NOT paranoid but not a Pollyanna either. I KNOW anything can happen to me.

DB…the neighbors behind us had their house stuck by lightening and it burned down last summer.
Our neighbors across the street’s electric dog fence was hit by lightening in the spring and their back yard burned. I am hoping this has ruled out the probability for us….not sure but I know what you mean!

HB

July 23rd, 2009
1:12 pm

DB, if you don’t want to “defriend” people, but are sick of their mundane status posts, you can hide them from your home page news feed. Just go to the upper right corner of their latest update, and a little option menu will appear (and they’ll never know). I’ve had to do this with a few people.

TKH

July 23rd, 2009
1:21 pm

I also need a clean house to come home to. It makes me crazy to walk into a dirty house. I’m already bummed about vacation being over and having to return to work. I don’t want to be overwhelmed with housework, too!

Did anyone else read the article Theresa linked to? I expected to read a few examples of homes being robbed because of Facebook/Twitter posts, but there was only one. It was not very detailed and said only that a home was robbed after a careless post on Facebook. If this is a serious problem, shouldn’t there be examples of it? Not saying people shouldn’t be cautious but maybe this is a little alarmist.

lynn

July 23rd, 2009
1:38 pm

Personally I have way too many other things to worry about than to dwell on something happening while I’m gone. It was less than a week after finishing our lakehouse when I got a call from a neighbor saying there was a strange truck going out of our driveway. He knew that we had finished (for the most part) all the construction & no work crews were due to be there so he decided to call and let me know. By the time we got home, our basement had been wiped out. Majority of losses were the air tools, compressors etc. It didn’t appear that whoever it was had went in the house because everything else was still the same upstairs so I didn’t stress too much since we had insurance to cover the material items and I hadn’t been violated personally by someone going through my belongings. The strangest thing I had happen one time did make me a little uneasy though. We keep a cooler of ice stocked with beer so they’re always cold and I went to get one for my husband and the cooler was gone right out of the foyer. We went downstairs and the only thing missing was all the beer from the cooler down there too. I chalked that one up to teens on the lake that more than likely knew us but still always felt a little strange since they had went upstairs this time. And, I still leave most of my doors unlocked since I have 8 sliders and even leave one open for the dogs to go in and out of. I also leave my keys in my cars. If someone wants in, they’re going to get in and I’d rather not have to replace a broken door or window to my car.

Katherine

July 23rd, 2009
1:44 pm

Wow, I just went out to lunch with colleagues and we discussed this exact topic (imagine my surprise when I saw that you had blogged about it, Theresa!)… I live in upstate NY (I moved from Athens last October; I am still a loyal AJC fan!) and there have been a number of robberies in my area lately (hence the discussion at lunch).

Anyway, I honestly haven’t worried about people knowing that I’m away… I just make sure that the blinds are closed so that we’re not advertising items like our TV and stereo. We don’t get newspapers, so they aren’t an issue. And, as far as mail goes, we just let it accumulate in the mailbox (we don’t get much). Also, when we go out of town, we leave one vehicle in the driveway.

I do post real-time commentary on both Facebook and Twitter. Facebook doesn’t concern me – my privacy settings are such that only my friends will see what I post (and I don’t add people I don’t know). But Twitter…now that I think about it, not such a great idea (although I don’t show my exact location, my Twitter username is my first and last name). I won’t be doing that anymore.

lynn

July 23rd, 2009
2:00 pm

Oh yeah, one other time we went home and found where someone stretched the extension out from under the garage door and cut if off and the rotty we use to have was just laying there sleeping. If they’d have just walked around the corner the door was unlocked and they could have gotten the whole thing haha.

Katherine

July 23rd, 2009
2:13 pm

motherjanegoose – I am obsessive about cleaning the house before I leave to go out of town! The last thing I want to do is deal with clutter and messiness when I get home. I blame my mother; she is the same way.

DB

July 23rd, 2009
2:24 pm

MJG: Another compulsive pre-vacation house cleaner, here. Not that I’m a particularly meticulous housekeeper, but yeah, the kitchen is CLEAN, the family room is picked up, vacuumed and tidy, and all the trash is out before we leave. I, too, hate coming back to a mess — it’s depressing.

motherjanegoose

July 23rd, 2009
2:30 pm

@ lynn….the rotty we use to have was just laying there sleeping

this is why I would not rely on JJ’s idea of: I have two dogs with mean barks…

We always joked about old Yellar ( our 90 pound dog). He looked and barked mean but if you got inside with any kind of dog treat, the house would be yours and he would show you all the stuff….LOL.

We have a little dog now and she IS a barker and nipper but not sure how much of a deterrant
( sp?) she would be.

JJ

July 23rd, 2009
2:37 pm

Most criminals are scardy cats, and a loud barking dog will deter them to another house. Two loud mean-barking dogs, and the idiots will think twice about entering that house.

Who wants to tangle with two dogs when you have no idea if they are pitbulls, rotties or whatever……

motherjanegoose

July 23rd, 2009
2:41 pm

HAHA JJ you made me laugh…thanks for the tip about criminals. I do not know any criminals personally, so that is something new I learned today….neat stuff.

Our big Lab was such a complete baby.

The UPS and Fed Ex deliverers were scared to death of him but he never hurt a fly and we miss him so much…he was a sweetheart.

lynn

July 23rd, 2009
3:37 pm

My rotty was the sweetest of all the dogs I’ve ever owned and I believe he knew the person(s) that did the crime because Fed-ex & UPS wouldn’t get out of their trucks. He looked verrry mean and his bark was worse. Now my 3 lhasa’s…..they’ll eat someone up LOL.