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TSA officers screened 2,496,494 people at airport checkpoints nationwide yesterday. Four years ago on the same day (pre-pandemic): 1,937,235. That’s a huge jump and you can bet the next couple of days will be even higher.

AAA says airports are expected to be the busiest they’ve ever been over the Christmas and New Year’s travel period with 7.5 million air travelers this holiday season. This will surpass 2019’s record of 7.3 million passengers. So now that we know airports are going to be packed, it’s time to get prepared. Here’s my Holiday Travel Airport Survival Guide to help make your travels smoother and less stressful.

You know what all the numbers above mean? That people are leaving home and getting out to reconnect with loved ones and destinations. That’s great news, especially when you think about where we were just a few years ago. However, this creates a new problem … thieves know you and your neighbors most likely aren’t home.

A Las Vegas woman told her local TV station (KLAS) about her unfortunate experience when she arrived home from a trip … and she’s not alone. The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said her house was broken into while she was away on vacation. Coming home to a break-in is a sure way to dampen all the joy of your travels. Larry Hadfield from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) said, “anyone can become a target, so it is important to take precautions when you head out of town.”

The officer had some tips and I’ve added some of mine as well. Hadfield advises three things:

1. Neighborhood watch
“First, ask your neighbors to keep an eye on your property and look for anything suspicious, including unknown people and vehicles.” The best way to prevent crime in your neighborhood is to have an aware neighborhood, said the officer.

2. Make sure your home looks lived in while you are away
Hadfield says, “Make sure your home looks lived in while you are away.” He suggested investing in lights that turn off and on with a timer. I would add have someone pickup your mail, newspaper and packages and cut the lawn or shovel the snow, depending on where you live.

3. Don’t share your location on social media
I’ve covered this many times but “the most important tip of all, do not post online and advertise that you are out of town.” I usually post after our trips and if I do post while I’m away, it’s because I have someone watching our place, not to mention a great group of aware neighbors and a state-of-the-art security system.

4. Don’t share details with your driver
If you’re getting a ride to the airport, don’t share details of your home’s emptiness with the driver. I know some people pretend to say goodbye to a friend who is not really staying in their house.

5. Don’t put your address on your luggage tag
If you’re taking a plane, train or bus, don’t put the address of your residence on your luggage tag. Instead just put your first name and last initial along with your cell phone number and email. Thieves have been known to hang out on trains or in airports just looking to see the addresses of people who are traveling. Also, make sure you’re using a luggage tag that’s covered so your personal information isn’t just out there in the open.

6. Get security cameras
Security cameras are relatively inexpensive these days so definitely get a few for your place. A Ring doorbell is also great to have to see if anyone is dropping packages off. Here are some great home security systems to consider installing if you don’t already have one.

7. Lock all windows
You would be amazed how many break-ins involve thefts using a ladder to access your second floor, as many residents don’t lock the windows up there.

8. Don’t leave ladders outside
I know some homeowners leave their ladders on the side of their house or in the shed. That’s a real no-no as it just gives the bad guys an easier way to access the second floor.

I’m sure there are more ways so please leave your tips in the comments so others can learn from them. But the anonymous victim had these parting words: “This can happen to anyone, no matter where you live.”

In the town of Manhattan Beach, California, a detective told Easy Reader News after a home invasion that: “This is yet another example that crime like this can happen anywhere, despite how affluent or removed from that sort of thing people believe they are here in the Beach Cities. It’s going on everywhere nowadays, and people need to begin to take it seriously, and just be a little bit more vigilant.”


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5 Comments On "Record Numbers of People are Traveling This Holiday and Thieves Know It - Here's How to Protect Your Home While You're Away"
  1. DC|

    Always have music or a TV on..thieves are not sure if you are home, and they do not want to risk it..they will go somewhere where they are more sure no one one is home..tip from seattle police after a break-in

  2. Donald Smith|

    Many local Police Departments will have someone come by and check on the house. They will make sure the doors are locked, windows are secure, etc.

    I’m involved with the Anaheim PD (California) and we provide such services. NO CHARGE

  3. Judy613|

    Beware of Dog signs and Dummy Cameras are great deterrents in addition to the other great suggestions.

  4. Craig|

    Like most people, I have smart speakers (Alexa) in my home. I have mine programmed to ‘hear’ noises when I’m not home simply by telling Alexa that I am leaving. ‘She’ will listen for any extraneous noises such as doorbell, telephone, glass breaking and smoke alarms. It will then send a message to my phone advising me of a sound alert and I can log right in a listen to what the sound is. I can then determine if authorities need to be alerted. All of the speakers also sound a local alarm that could help deter a possible intruder.

  5. MarkB|

    Regarding luggage tags, I don’t use my home address on a permanent luggage tage. I use a luggae tag which allows me to insert the name and address of my next destination, changing the address with each flight. Doing this has had my missing luggage in Rome brought to the hotel at midnight after the airline misplaced it. When Alaska Airlines sent my bag to Denver rather than with us on a direct flight from Seattle to Puerta Vallarta, it was delivered to out hotel three days later. Using a home address is not a good idea when leaving on a vacation as the airline will return it to your home addressm having nothing else to go on.

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