Last year around this time we posted the information below on the blog, in hopes of reminding everyone to practice some basic crime prevention tips before they leave town for that sunny destination. Those helpful tips were a good reminder of things you could do to safeguard your home, and they still hold true today.
1. Don’t advertise you are leaving town: Social media is a great way to share excitement with friends, but wait till after the trip to tell where you’ve been. Don’t broadcast to the criminal element that you and your family will be away for a week. If you have children in college, remind them not to blog about your family plans to be gone.
2. Create an illusion of occupancy: While away, arrange for a trusted neighbor to pick up mail, newspapers, and door hangers. If it does snow, make sure someone shovels the walk and takes the trash cans in and out so there is an illusion of occupancy.
3. Lights, too: Put lights on timers now so there can be an established look of occupancy (Don’t forget to set the timers for daylight savings time)
4. Garage and windows: Keep your car locked and the windows shut even if it is parked in the garage, and take your keys with you. If your house is broken into, there is no need to provide the thief with a car. You also force them to carry items out of a front or back door since your car is parked in the garage blocking the easy exit. Many people un-plug their garage door opener and lock the garage door while they are out of town (Just don’t forget to unlock it and plug it in when you get home).
5. Alarms: Make sure a trusted neighbor has a house key and a way to shut off your alarm. If there are storms or electrical issues your alarm could go off several times a day while you are gone. Returning home to find out you are being billed for several false alarms would spoil the end of a relaxing vacation.
6. In case of emergency: Make sure a neighbor or relative has your cell number or a way to get in contact with you in case of any home emergency.
7. Utilities: It’s always a good idea to turn back the temperature of your water heater, shut off the water to your washing machine (washing machine hose breaks are at the top of the list when it comes to home damage costs). Also having someone check your house daily will give you peace of mind knowing that your pipes aren’t freezing or a garage door malfunction hasn’t opened your garage door while you are away.
8. Don’t forget about your pet: If you have pets (especially a dog), a pet sitter can be a valuable asset for crime prevention. The irregular schedule of a person coming and going from the residence, and the sound of a barking dog can be a big deterrent to burglar.
Get a Security Survey: A crime prevention officer will come to your house to perform a residential security survey. The survey is FREE and will include more tips to help protect your home from being a target. Call 913-895-6945 or use OPCares at www.opkansas.org to schedule your survey.