By: Pete Evering
Nothing excites a family more than packing up and heading out on vacation for Spring Break and Summer just a few months later. Nothing excites a criminal more than you packing up and going on a vacation. Here are some of those do and don’t before locking your front door for the week.
Let’s get the first DON’T out of of who not to tell. Everyone you have connected to your Social Media. Tell 99% of your friends and family about your excursions when you get back! You will find out about the other percent later for who you should tell and share before you leave and while you are gone. Although it seems like a fun way of showing off your trip to friends and family, sharing on social media while on vacation can actually be very chancy. One simple post no matter if it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social site, can give burglars clues about your home, location, and belongings, making it easy for them to plan a break in. Don’t give away the specific dates of your trip giving a clue for the time frame you will not be home. Don’t ‘check-in’ or allow other members of your family and friends to tag you on vacation locations or activities using any form of social media. What might seem like fun showing off the family vacation, it’s important to protect yourself, your home, and your belongings, so keep that post until your back.
Make a few phone calls to the very trusted 1 % of your friends and family. Contact local neighborhood watch patrols or police departments for further suggestions. Many cities have a Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (R.S.V.P.) – Assist Area Stations in providing an increased level of crime prevention programs within specific geographic boundaries by providing additional resources operated by the local police department. One of their many community patrol services includes vacation house checks. Notify your alarm company of travel itinerary. Furnish them with names, email addresses and phones numbers of house sitters, neighbors or caretakers that have access and keys. Remember your Landlord should also be thought of contacting before your adventure in case a neighboring unit or possibly your own needs emergency service.
As you are walking out the door on this deserved and hard worked for family get-a-way, here are some last minute to-dos. Stop or forward mail, newspaper and other deliveries, keeping your yard spam from building up physically, showing the watchers that either you are not home or you just really don’t care about your landscape. Ask neighbors to walk by your house periodically to check doors, rear of house, and see if any unexpected packages or door hangtags were left. For extended trips, review bill payment schedules and arrange for pre-payments for utilities, rent or mortgage, phone, etc. This avoids utility shut-off’s, late fees and credit damage. If leaving Fido and FeeFee behind, arrange for pet’s care. Move plants as required and arrange for their watering. Stop garbage or ask a neighbor to arrange for garbage to be set out and, later, cans collected. Check doors, windows and locks. Don’t overlook locking pet doors and the door between the garage and house. Consider disconnecting the receiver of electric garage door openers or engaging the manual lock on the door. Electric doors are can be opened by other electronic devices. Remove door openers and valuables from cars parked outside. Unplug expensive home electronics, computers and other devices that might be damaged by a power surge. Disconnect internet access to computers. Remove perishables from refrigerator and discard. Shut off water lines to washing machines to avoid flooding problems. Damage done from a burst washing machine water hose can result in thousands of dollars of damage. What a way to ruin the buzz of a vacation to walk in the door and the destruction was so severe that all of the appliances, flooring and drywall and much of the furniture had to be replaced. Next is to checking to see that the gas stove is turned off. Do not leave the dishwasher, dryer or washing machine running when leaving the house (especially if no one will be home or available to check if these appliances shut off). Make sure all appliances are turned off or unplugged when possible. Have Fun!!