CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Many people are packing up their bags and heading out of town to spend the holidays with family and friends.
However, Charleston police warn residents need to protect their property before hitting the road.
If you're heading out of town for the holidays, your belongings could be vulnerable before you even leave the house.
Sgt. Shelor with the Charleston Police Department said he sees people make one big mistake every year.
"They've packed the car overnight to leave in the morning and when they come out in the morning, their car has been broken into and their stuff has been taken," said Sgt. Trevor Shelor, Charleston Police Department.
Shelor said if you can, don't pack your car until right before you're leaving.
When you do leave, take the time to ensure your house is secure. Shelor said residents often overlook places like the backdoor to the garage, the doggie door, a dormer, a bathroom window.
There's also things you can do to make it appear like someone is home. Shelor suggested to keep your porch lights on and draw your window blinds down. Also, have a few indoor lights set to turn on on a timer, if you can.
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when leaving their home for vacation is letting a pile of newspapers stack up in front of their home on the driveway. Shelor said the best thing to do is just ask a neighbor to pick them up for you everyday.
Another way your neighbor can help, by parking one of their cars in your driveway periodically.
"If you're going to be gone a long time having someone come and blow the leaves or mow the grass," said Shelor.
It can be tempting to share photos and details on social media when you're vacationing, but Shelor warned to hold off on sharing too much while out of town. You never know who will see it.
If you're going to be out of time for a long time, Charleston Police say if you let them know. Their officers will periodically drive by to check out your home.