SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Springfield Police said this time of year is when they focus on preventing burglaries because so many people head out of town, and Public Affairs Officer Cris Swaters shared some advice for anyone planning a trip.

“When you’re thinking about going on vacation or even getting ready to go on vacation or even just a long weekend to the lake, don’t post about those plans until after you get back, and don’t post those photos until after you get back,” said Swaters.

While it can be fun to show friends and family the great time you’re having on vacation, it’s not worth the risk, she said.

“The more information that you put out there about your whereabouts and when you’ll be gone, you never know who might see that on social media, and if the wrong person sees that, it will give them the right opportunity to break into your home.”

Here are a few other things you can do to prevent tipping off anyone who might be looking to break into your home:

  • Load your car in the garage and keep the door closed as you’re packing up
  • Swaters says it’s obvious, but people should double-check all windows and doors are locked before leaving
  • Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home or pick up any packages or mail that may arrive while you are gone

Swaters also talked about an increase in reports of shots fired calls in Springfield in 2022. She said as of April 26, Springfield Police have responded to 106 reports of shots fired, leading to 20 people being hurt. She said on average, police respond to between 21 and 30 shots fired calls per month. Officers have responded to more than that in March and April.

Swaters said people can help by gathering as much information as possible when they see or hear something, and even if you aren’t sure what you heard was gunshots, call 911 anyway so police can check it out.

“The more information we have the better prepared we can be to solve and identify these crimes.”

This image from Springfield Police shows shots fired calls between April 12 and April 26, 2022. There were 14 calls and two injuries

Swaters said another way people can help is by letting Springfield Police know if you have a security or doorbell camera. This does not give officers access to your camera, but it does let them know it’s there. This saves officers valuable time when investigating a crime.

You can track crime numbers in your area on this new website.