WILMINGTON -- If you're leaving home for the holidays someone else may be looking forward to your vacation as well. Police say the chances of your home being broken into when you're out of town increases this time of year. Taro Manabe found out the hard way just how vulnerable his home was. "I went away on a trip and I came back … and my gun collection was gone." This wasn't the only time Manabe felt violated. "My neighbor tells me when I was away for work there was a truck in front of my and a man walking around the house scoping it out taking pictures. My neighbors confronted the man and he sped off." "So I decided to get an alarm system on my house." An alarm system can be a deterrent as long as you let people know it's there. If you have a home security system make sure you use the stickers and the signs that come with it. Place the stickers on all the windows around the home and the signs in the yard that way it will be a warning for anyone who tries to break in." Police also recommend giving the illusion that someone is home. WPD Ofc. Donald Smith said, "You can put your lights on timers. Place one light in one room and another light in another room and put them on timers that go off intermediately at different times." Smith says to tell your neighbors you will be out of town. "Have them check to make sure nobody is in your yard." "They pick up your mail, they pick up your newspapers. That is a sure sign that some body's not home when newspapers start piling up in the news box," Smith said. Also have information on the big ticket items you own, that way if something is stolen it's easier for police to recover them. "It is very important that you put serial numbers and identification numbers that way you'll have them just in case the unthinkable does happen," Smith said. Knowing what he knows now, Manabe feels safer leaving his home to go out of town. "I make sure that the house has an alarm and it's turned on and all the doors are locked, my neighbor will know when I'm out of town," Manabe said. As a rule you can call your local law enforcement agency and ask for a residence check while you're out of town.
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