With the holiday season quickly approaching, many people will be traveling, leaving their homes and belongings vulnerable to break-ins. Westwinds Real Estate would like to take this opportunity to remind travelers of a few ways to prevent break-ins.

According to the online crime mapping provided by the City of Iowa City, there were 500 thefts and burglaries between January 31, 2015 and November 1, 2015 and there were 338 thefts and burglaries between November 1, 2015 and January 31, 2016. This means that over 40% of thefts and burglaries happen during the holiday season alone.

The Iowa City Police Department suggests a few tips for preventing break-ins during your holiday travels:

  1. Make sure all of your doors and windows are locked prior to leaving town. Most break-ins are done without force. Simply making sure all of your entry ways are locked can be a big deterrent.
  2. Put your mail delivery on hold while you are out of town. Putting a hold on your mail and the newspaper will keep them from piling up and letting people know you are not home.
  3. Have a friend or neighbor check on your home while you are away. They can check up on things and possibly turn a light on in the house to make it seem like someone is home.
  4. Wait to post on social media until you return home. While it is exciting to let all of your friends and followers know where you are going, this also means that strangers can see that you will be leaving your home unattended.

However, if you do find yourself the unfortunate victim of a break-in, the Greater Iowa City Area Apartment Association suggests these initial steps:

  1. Vacate the property, call 911 and don’t touch anything. Leaving the residence protects you and any evidence there may be.
  2. Talk to your neighbors. They may have seen or heard something.
  3. Call your insurance company. Notify your homeowners insurance or renters insurance company. Westwinds suggests that all of their tenants obtain renters insurance for instances such as this.

They also suggest checking local pawn shops and online listings. Whoever stole your belongings could be trying to sell them. If you do believe you have located your stolen items, notify the police, do not confront them on your own.
Keeping these simple steps in mind, Westwinds would like to wish everyone a safe and relaxing holiday season!

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