With summer here, many Californians will pursue new vacation prospects. Numerous families will take to the roads and the skies in order to take advantage of the nice weather and the fact that their kids are out of school. But as the Sheriff’s Department of San Diego explains in a new report, it’s important that families take certain precautions prior to leaving to ensure the safety of themselves and their home.
First, no matter where you reside in the state, you should look into whether or not the local authorities offer vacation check services. In San Diego, filling out and submitting a simple form to the Sheriff’s Department is all it takes to have a member of the Senior Volunteer Patrol drop by on a near daily basis to verify the security of your residence. Not only can such a service turn up any suspicious behavior, but the patrol member will check your locks, hide newspapers, and leave you a letter detailing their activities while you were gone.
Even if you don’t use such a service, there are steps you ought to take to protect the sanctity of your home while you’re away. It should go without saying that you need to lock all doors and windows. That includes your garage and any pet doors you might have. Instead of keeping a ladder someplace like the side of a home or an unlocked shed, store it inside so a burglar can’t prop it up to access your home. If you have a security system, use it.
You also need to be careful with who you tell about your plans. Although trusted friends and acquaintances can certainly be told of this information, what you don’t want to do is use a status update on Facebook or Twitter to detail your plans. You can further keep unwanted individuals from knowing your true whereabouts by putting a hold on newspaper and mail service and making your home looked “lived in.” Have your lights set to a timer and encourage neighbors to park in your driveway.
You might even do your part for your fellow citizens. Be on the lookout for suspicious activities, especially when you know that a neighbor has left town for awhile. If you have their number, call and ask if they’re having someone housesit if you detect movement in the home. If you can’t get ahold of them, you might call the authorities, especially if a dog barks frantically and excessively. When random people begin to approach the house and circle it from all angles, this should also lead to a phone call with local police.
Finally, when you’re out of town, hide your luggage in a trunk and stay in lit areas that offer plenty of visibility.