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Going Out Of Town? Think Safety First!

Date Added: February 26, 2016 9:00 am

For many, the annual onset of summer means a short trip out of town. For others, it's time to pack up, lock up and head North for the summer.

As you make your travel plans, it's a good idea to be mindful of the fact that thieves and burglars are watching the calendar too. And they know that many homes are left unattended for extended periods during the summer months. So before you leave, remember to take some standard safety measures to ensure the security of your home. That includes locking all doors and windows, making sure the outside of your home is well lit and keeping your shrubs neatly trimmed to eliminate hiding places. The extra time and effort will be worth the additional peace of mind and security you'll have while you're away.

As with many crimes, a residential burglary most often is a crime of opportunity. In other words, criminals are attracted to targets that are easy and inviting. And for a burglar, there's no more inviting target than an isolated, unlit, vacant home. That's where personal safety comes in. There are other things you can do as well to protect your home and property. Some common-sense security tips can make your home less inviting to thieves, particularly when you're not there. The best advice is to give your home a lived-in appearance at all times, even when you're not there. This will act as a deterrent to burglars and cause them to move on to an easier mark.

But how do you make your home appear to be occupied, even when it's not? Here are a few tips to keep in mind before leaving your home:

  • Turn down the volume on your telephone ringer. A ringing telephone that goes unanswered is a dead give-away to a burglar. If you turn your ringer down and a burglar is lurking around your home, he won't be alerted to your absence by a ringing telephone.
  • Never leave a message on your answering machine that tells the caller that you are away from home. Instead, say: "I'm not available now."
  • Use an automatic timer to turn interior lights on and off at varying intervals to give the appearance that someone is inside the home.
  • Leave a television on. Better yet, leave a half-eaten bowl of popcorn by the set. Anyone peering into your windows will naturally assume that someone is inside.
  • Leave the drapes in their customary position. Don't close them completely unless that's what you would normally do.
  • Either stop all deliveries to your home or arrange for a friend or neighbor to pick up your mail and newspaper every day while you're gone.
  • Have someone mow your lawn or rake your yard. A burglar will assume the resident is at home and tending to his property.
  • Have a neighbor park in your driveway or in front of your house.

Practicing good safety habits will dramatically decrease your chances of becoming a crime victim. Public safety must start in the home. With just a handful of common-sense precautions, residents can make themselves and their property uninviting to criminals.

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