The Free Press, Mankato, MN

December 19, 2012

Advice to vacationers and college students: Fool the burglars

The Free Press

MANKATO — Police say a few simple precautionary measures could mean the difference between being burglarized or being left alone.

When college students head back to mom and dad's for the holidays, or residents take a week to visit relatives, burglars see opportunity.

"We see an uptick (in burglaries) during the breaks," said Matt Westermayer, deputy director of the Mankato Department of Public Safety.

The advice to all who will vacate their dwellings for extended periods of time is simple.

"Don't leave anything behind of any high value," Westermayer said.

Also, do those little things that can make a house look lived in. If it snows, make sure the sidewalks get cleared. Get a neighbor to pick up the newspapers and mail that may pile up. If you get a new flat screen television, don't plop the packaging on top of the garbage like some curbside advertisement to burglars that your house should be their next stop.

"Look at the big picture about what it is that you're conveying about your property," Westermayer said.