Police House Checks

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The holiday season is when many Americans choose to travel and maybe away from their homes for extended periods of time. It's also the time of year that more home burglaries are likely to occur.

If you're heading home for the holidays make sure your own home doesn't become a haven for unwanted visitors.

Sgt. Bill Bryant with the Marianna Police Department says, "All the crime usually picks up during the holiday season, you know, crimes of opportunity is what they're looking for."

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office and the Marianna Police Department have innovative programs that can help protect your home while you're out of town. The agencies assign officers that do house checks.

"If you're going out of town, we have a form here you can fill out. It tells us where you're going, when you’re leaving, when you’re expected back, any neighbor that has keys to your house, any vehicle that's supposed to be in your yard."

Here are a few tips to avoid having a “Grinch” spoil your Christmas while you’re out of town.

John P. McDaniel, Jackson County Sheriff, says, "Stop your mail. Don't have mail gathering up in your mailbox. Stop your newspaper. Don't have those laying around in your yard. We'd like to see them leave a vehicle in a conspicuous place in the yard that indicates that they may be home."

Authorities say following these tips along with their local house check program has been an effective tool when it comes to catching burglars.

"We have found people on the property attempting to break into a house. We have found houses that were broken into that would not have been found until the people returned if they had not been on the check list."

So don't let your valuables become someone else's stocking stuffer. Authorities say it's also a good idea to leave a neighbor or local law enforcement agency with an emergency contact number.