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Cops offer tips for keeping your home safe while on vacation

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- One way to ruin a vacation is finding out your home has been broken into. With extra precaution, homeowners can prevent that from happening.

There's a lot to see if you're a tourist in Kansas City. For the Sparks, visiting from Connecticut, exploration means hitting the streets. They can really enjoy the start of vacation without any worries. Wayne and Jean checked and double checked a list of safety measures taken to keep their home safe.

"We have an alarm system. We have someone picking up our mail. Our children live in the area, so they're there swimming,” Jean said. “And we have a good neighbor that lives across the street.”

The couple is doing exactly what police departments across the metro urge people to do when they're going to be away from home.

“What we try to tell people is do as much as they can to make sure their home looks like that someone is there," said Master Patrol Officer Dan Friesen of the Lenexa Police Department.

Make sure to have someone pickup mail and packages dropped off at the house. Let a trusted neighbor or relative know if repair work is scheduled while you're gone.

"What we've seen happen in the past is someone driving what appears to be a work vehicle will show up at a house acting like they're supposed to be there, when in fact they're stealing stuff from the homes because they realize the people are out of town,” said Officer Friesen.

All those scares aren't something the Sparks worry while in Kansas City.

"Doesn't bother me at all. I know I’ve covered the bases. If I didn't have all that then I'd be worried," said Wayne.

Although miles away from home, the couple can also monitor crime activities in their neighborhood using crime mapping websites (like that can easily be pulled on a smartphone.

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