Whether going on vacation or leaving for the holidays, a vacation or a holiday visit should be a pleasant experience for your family. Take a few simple steps to reduce the possibility of being burglarized while you are away. Here are some steps you should consider in preparation for your trip, and a few additional thoughts to keep in mind while you are away:
One or Two Days Before You Leave for a Vacation or the Holidays:
- Notify your newspaper to put your subscription on a “vacation hold”. “Hold” days are easily given over a touch tone phone.
- Notify your local post office to put your mail delivery on a “vacation hold” and give them a date to start delivering again.
- Ask a neighbor to pick up your newspapers and mail if your instructions were not fo1lowed.
- If you have valuables and cash in the house, take them to your bank for storage in a safe deposit box or vault. By now, you should have engraved your valuables such as TVs, appliances, computers and other easily stolen items.
- Notify your local police or sheriff’s department about your departure and return dates. Give them a name and telephone number of a neighbor or relative to notify in case of a burglary, fire or other emergency.
- Make arrangements to have your leaves raked, or your walk and driveway shoveled in winter.
- Arrange with a neighbor or relative to watch your house. Give them a key and let them know where or how you can be reached in an emergency. Write their telephone number down so you can check with them during your trip. Give them your car description and license number.
On the Day You Leave:
- Plug in variable timers to turn lights and a radio on and off at appropriate times. Give the appearance that the home is occupied when you are away.
- Set your thermostat so that your furnace or air conditions will maintain a reasonable temperature in your house. 85 degrees in summer and 50 degrees in winter are good settings. In winter, make sure outside water taps are drained to prevent freezing.
- Turn off ringer on your phone so it cannot be heard from outside. Do not leave a message that you are away on vacation on your telephone answering machine.
- Close all windows and sliding doors. Lock them. Place wooden dowels in all sliders so windows and doors can not be opened. All screens or storm windows should be checked to be certain they are locked and fastened.
- Make sure all main floor drapes, shades and curtains are arranged in their normal daytime position so that neighbors and police can see into your house. Even better, ask a friend to close and open window coverings daily.
- Lock your garage door. Disengage or turn power off to your automatic garage door opener.
- Make sure the last person out locks the door. If you have an alarm system, make sure it is turned on.
- Take a walk around the house. Check all the doors and windows.
Revised December 2013
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