TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Tis' the season for crimes of opportunity and expensive pipe bursts but there are ways to prevent both this year.
West Lafayette police and a local property owner have some words of wisdom.
Lt. Art Choate sees it every December.
"They were in a hurry to get out, they had to get somewhere to catch their plane, train, whatever it may be," said Lt. Choate.
So, they forget to lock up and someone takes advantage.
"They walk by, they grab the door handle and they figure out that it was open and decide to go in and help themselves to whatever they get to carry that day," said Choate.
He said most burglaries include unlocked doors or windows but sometimes they do break in. That's why he suggests taking valuables with you if you can.
"Laptops, iPads," explained Choate.
Police will be on alert for this kind of activity but neighbors can help too.
"Notify your neighbors, if you have someone that's sticking around and they're a trusted neighbor or a trusted friend they should be keeping an eye out," said Choate.
But Lt. Choate doesn't recommend trusting social media with that information.
"Wait until you get back to post information about your vacation," said Choate. "We like to share that with our friends, we like to share that with people but unfortunately sometimes people use that against you."
Crime isn't the only concern for holiday travelers. Basham Rentals owner John Basham is all about the temperature this time of year. His staff sends out paper and electronic reminders to turn the heat to at least 55 degrees and even goes to each apartment to double check.
"And a good thing we did last year out of about 850 bedrooms and apartments we found 18 with the heat off," said Basham.
Even after written warnings and Basham's door to door sweeps last year, someone still left their heat off during the holidays causing a pipe to burst at Kiley Kove. It was a major headache for all involved.
"And I was very kind to them on the charges because I know I was young once and things like that can happen when you have a lot on your mind," said Basham.
But not every landlord will be kind about charges. Most do hold the tenant responsible for damages caused by frozen pipe bursts.
Some other helpful tips to avoid a pipe burst include opening your cabinet doors, keeping your air vents open and heating your garage.
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