8 Suggestions from Local Law Enforcement
You’ve got your passport, your plane tickets, and your hotel reservations in hand. Your clothes are packed and you’re ready for your long-anticipated getaway. But while making all of your vacation preparations, did you remember to take appropriate steps to prevent a break-in?
We talked to Plano Police Officer Mark Dawson, who told us “When you know all of the measures you can take to prevent a burglary, you realize you have more control than you may have imagined.” Following Dawson’s eight suggestions will let you leave with peace of mind:
Get a local police department security assessment of your home
The Plano Police Department offers a free home security assessment for city residents. They perform a comprehensive check to determine how difficult and time consuming it would be for an unwelcome intruder to get into your home. The higher the level of difficulty and the longer it would take, the less likely your home is to be broken in. Burglars look for the path of least resistance.
Check out our infographic to see what a PD security assessment may include.
You should also notify your local PD and tell them when you will be away on vacation. Often, they will send a patrol car every few days to do a quick drive-by check.
Have a neighbor or house sitter keep an eye on your property
The Plano PD no longer recommends that mail and newspaper deliveries be halted. “Know your neighbors. Have a neighbor look after your property and do the same in return,” Officer Dawson advises. Ask your neighbor to keep an eye on the property and keep the home looking occupied by taking your mail and newspaper each day and removing packages from your front step and debris from the yard. Ask them to open your blinds during the day if you normally do so, to turn the sprinkler system off if it malfunctions, and correct any other visible signals that you’re not home.
Lock all doors, windows, and the garage
Make sure all windows are in the locked position before your trip. Consider using two or three locks on your front door and exiting out the back door, which should be lockable with a key from outside. Learn how to lock your garage with a deadbolt-style lock so burglars can’t gain entry, and lock the interior garage door to the house.
Make sure exterior and interior lighting patterns signal occupancy
Burglars look for breaks in lighting patterns that indicate a home is unoccupied. Install timers on your lights or ask your neighbor or someone you trust to turn your lights on and off as you would if you were home.
Have someone mow the lawn and take care of the landscaping
An unkept front yard, including overgrown grass and shrubs, or unpruned trees can be a dead giveaway that you’re gone, and will likely be cited as violations of your association’s guidelines. If you are going to be gone for a week or longer, arrange to have the lawn mowed and any overgrown plants trimmed.
Remove your home information from your GPS system
Some burglars break into cars at the airport, use the GPS to find the home address, and make your home an easy target. Delete your home information from your GPS or remove your portable unit if you park at the airport.
Remove your spare key
That key you keep under the flower pot or above a doorframe isn’t as well-hidden to a burglar as it may seem to you. They’re often willing to spend time looking for your spare key. Give it to your neighbor or house sitter while you’re gone.
Don’t tell people about your vacation plans—especially on social media
Wait until you’re back to talk about your trip on Facebook and other social media sites. Also, be very careful whom you share your vacation plans with offline. There is always the risk that word of your departure can spread to the wrong people.
Most criminals won’t often try to outsmart someone who’s done their homework. Take these measures to protect your home and enjoy the peace of mind that you deserve on your vacation!