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The Montgomery Police Department has prepared the following information for you to help ensure the safety and security of your home while you are away. Some of these recommendations require the help of trusted neighbors. Alert and concerned neighbors are your best protection against crime in your neighborhood.
During vacations or other trips, use this checklist to protect your property and make your home appear occupied. These steps may discourage burglars and thieves:
•Install good locks on doors and windows. It’s true that an intruder who really wants to get into your house probably can find a way, but most burglaries are crimes of opportunity committed by amateurs. This means that the more difficult you make it for someone to enter your house, the more likely it is a burglar will not make the attempt—or at least that an alert neighbor will see or hear the burglar.
•If a neighbor will not be picking up the mail and newspapers daily, stop the mail and cancel thenewspaper. Never tell the newspaper carrier that you will be gone. Cancel the paper rather than entering a “vacation stop” for extended (more than two weeks) absences.
•Install motion detector lights on the outside of your home. Use automatic timers on inside lights and photo-electric switches on outside lights. A week or two before you leave, set your timers so you can establish a pattern while you are still home. There are even timers available that will vary the on/off times. Occasionally have a radio or TV turned on.
•Don’t leave valuables where they can be easily seen from the windows. Video equipment, TVs, stereos, gun collections, etc. should be stored in basements, closets, on the second floor, or left with a friend or neighbor. Equipping a storage closet with a good deadbolt lock makes a safe storage area too.
•Leave your drapes in the normal position. Have a neighbor close them at night and open them at daylight, or use sheers. Sheers help to obscure the view into the house without making it obvious, as drapes would, that no one is home.
•Leave the bathroom light on with the door ajar to add to the impression that someone may be home.
•Close and lock your garage doors to prevent someone from stealing the contents of the garage. Consider putting a padlock in the track of overhead garage doors.
•Cover your garage windows to prevent anyone from seeing the contents of your garage and whether your car is at home.
•Check your homeowner’s insurance policy. Does it provide theft coverage while you’re staying in hotels and motels? It should.
•Don’t let your travel plans be widely known. Make sure your kids are not posting the vacation plans on Facebook or any other social media site. Try to arrange for a house-sitter, but if you can’t, provide a trusted neighbor with your itinerary and phone numbers.
You also may want a trusted neighbor to do the following while you are away:
• Check your home daily for anything unusual. • Park in your driveway or in front of your home. • Occasionally place garbage in your garbage can. • Mow the lawn or shovel sidewalks and driveways. • Pick up your mail and newspapers.
At work, request office staff to be cautious when answering your phone calls. No information should be given out about while you are not in the office.
•Set the ringer on your telephone on low. A loudly ringing, unanswered phone is a sign no one is home
•Make arrangements for the care of your pets.
•Remind your neighbors to call 911 if they see anything suspicious around your home. Keep a list of valuables with SERIAL NUMBERS or photographs of unique items, in a safe place.