Summer Travel Safety Tips

Going out of town this summer for a good old Clark Griswold type summer vacation? Here are some tips to keep your home safe while you are gone.

  1. Neighborhood Watch Program. If there is an organized Neighborhood Watch Program in your area, let the other members know when you will be away from your home. They have already been trained to be on alert and may have regular patrols setup that can now add your house as a special point of interest during the time you are away.
  2. Stranger Alert. Simply being on watch for any unusual presence in the neighborhood can be a good first step. A car that continues to circle the block or unknown persons walking the sidewalks, could be signs of mischief.
  3. Newspaper buildup. Have a neighbor collect your newspaper each day so you don’t have this tell-tale sign advertising the fact that you are away. Also ask them to pick up any pizza flyers left on your door.
  4. Keep the lawn mowed. This is another way a neighbor can help keep your absence from being detected. An unkept lawn is another clue that burglars look for when they scout neighborhoods for empty homes. Perhaps you can do an exchange with a neighbor and take care of their lawn for them during a similar situation.
  5. Pet care. Ask a neighbor to stop by and feed your pets while you are gone. It will provide daily activity in the home. If there is anything seriously amiss, they would be likely to notice it during their visits.
  6. House checks. Asking a neighbor to simply do a daily walk through of your house each evening is a great security measure. Not only will lights be seen turned on and off throughout your home, they can also check for other issues, like a freezer that’s defrosted or water leaks.
  7. House sitting. You might invite a neighbor who lives in an apartment, or one who shares a home with a roommate, to house sit for you while you’re gone. As long they are a trusted friend, you will have your own on-site security guard.
  8. Nosy Nancy. If you have one of those neighbors who is always looking out her windows to see what everyone else is doing, this is the perfect opportunity to put this busybody to good use. Ask her to keep an eye on your house for you. She’s bound to be thrilled and will likely report back to you every soul that even glances in the direction of your house.
  9. Daily activity. Just asking your trusted neighbors to shoot some hoops in your driveway, or even just moving your car, can be enough to give the appearance that a home is occupied.
  10. Fake them out. Set lights and even a TV on a timer to give the appearance of activity in your home. If you’re reluctant to leave your TV on while you’re out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real TV. You can find that at www.faketv.com.
  11. Facebook Free Vacation. Sure, it’s fun to brag on Facebook or other social media about your vacation plans, or post pictures of you and your family having fun, but wait until you return from vacation to post this news. You never know who will read your status and know you are not home.

From the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy, they recommend the additional following tips for summer safety:

  1. Lock all doors and windows when gone for the day and or at
    night.
  2. Secure window air conditioners so that they can not be pushed
    in or pulled out.
  3. Trim overgrown bushes, trees, grass and landscaping.
  4. Make sure your property is well lit outside.
  5. Keep an inventory for all items of value and record their serial
    numbers.
  6. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors.
  7. Consider installing residential/garage burglar alarms and or
    private security cameras.
  8. Call 911 on all suspicious persons or activity

So what are the top items stolen by burglars?

  • 22% Cash
  • 15% Tools and building supplies
  • 11% Home furnishings, televisions, stereos, cameras, computers and bicycles
  • 8% Jewelry, furs and silver
  • 8% Food, drinks and clothing
  • 6% Clothing
  • 6% Sporting goods
  • 5% Motor vehicles
  • 4% Gasoline
  • 2% Guns and ammunition

Remember, it only takes seconds for a thief to break open your door, and minutes to completely pillage your home.

Click image above to watch how quickly burglars move through YOUR home

Need more tips about home security? Would you like to schedule a complimentary security assessment of your home with our consultants? Contact VinTech today before you leave on your Griswold worthy adventure!