Wheeling, W.Va. (WTRF) – It’s vacation season which means your house may be empty with nobody to watch after it.  

As vacationers head to a beach, board a cruise ship, or depart on a plane, some are leaving their homes empty. 

That creates an opportunity for a potential thief. 

“Don’t be posting pictures that show you’re in Florida.” 

Chief Shawn Schwertfeger – Wheeling Police Department 

One simple piece of advice. 

 Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger says to keep it quiet that you will be away from your house. 

The idea is to keep your residence looking as normal as possible. 

If your mail and newspaper are stacking up, that’s the green light for burglars. 

Wheeling US Postal Service supervisor Christine Derrow recommends having your mail and newspaper held. 

“Their mail and parcels can be held at the post office while they’re away in assurance that they would not be stolen.” 

Christine Derrow – Wheeling USPS supervisor

Just go online or head to the post office to set it up for however long you plan to be away. 

“It could range from 3 days to 30 days for hold mail.” 

Christine Derrow – Wheeling USPS supervisor

…but remember, the postal service doesn’t deliver all of your packages. 

“Your mail’s held at the post office, but you may want to check about the other services you receive packages to assure they’re not taken as well.” 

Christine Derrow – Wheeling USPS supervisor

If you’re still worried, Schwertfeger said the police can help. 

“Certainly, if there is a concern regarding your property while you’re away, we can try to pay a little closer attention to that.  Do some routine patrols around that area.” 

Chief Shawn Schwertfeger – Wheeling Police Department 

He said the best course of action is to have your neighbors watch over your home for you.  

And if all else fails and there is a break in, call the police. 

“If you arrive home and you feel like someone’s been in your house, don’t go in.  Call 911 and let a police officer clear your residence… and certainly preserve any evidence that may be in there if in fact a break in had occurred.” 

Chief Shawn Schwertfeger – Wheeling Police Department 

He said there is not normally a summer spike in break-ins, so enjoy your vacation, but take the proper precautions before you depart. 

One other piece of advice is to put timers on a few lights in your house, so that it appears you are still coming and going.