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Summer Travel and Your Home’s Security

Vacation time is here and whether you are planning a traditional vacation, a weekend getaway, or a two-week excursion, a little safety planning before you leave is all you need to have peace of mind that your home is secure. Don’t be naive to think that your home or neighborhood is immune from robbery.  If you don’t take a few precautions to safeguard your home, you are putting your property and personal belongings at risk.

Choose only a select few people whom you trust to know the details of your travel plans and help keep your home secure while you are away. Ask a friend to be your “home guardian” and provide them with your vacation itinerary including location, contact number as well as access to your house or apartment. Ask that they drive by and check on your home. It always looks good to have some activity at your home in case someone is watching. If your trip is a relatively short one, have the mail, newspapers and packages gathered each day by a neighbor. If you plan to be away for an extended period of time, have the post office hold all mail.  Make sure any outdoor plants are cared for. Wilted window boxes are a sure sign of “vacation neglect.” It is also a good idea to give your “home guardian” the telephone number of your sprinkler system company and a reputable plumber.  Just in case of a broken pipe!

Explain to your children that your travel plans should remain private. ALL of their friends DO NOT need to know that you are going away.  Ask them not to provide social media (i.e. Facebook or Twitter) updates prior to and during your trip and you should do the same.  Pictures of your trip should NOT be posted until you return. Social networking has become a way of life for many of us, but frankly it is a source of too much information going out to an uncontrollable number of people and puts you at risk for robbery, vandalism, or an “unplanned” house party.

Store your valuables (jewelry, cash, extra credit cards etc.) in a secure yet obscure place. DO NOT put them in your dresser or bedroom closet.  Every thief starts his search in the bedroom.  Reduce external views into your home; close curtains and window shades.  Put several lights (internal and external) and a radio on a timer; make it look like there is ongoing activity in your home.  Lock doors, windows, and if you have one, set your house alarm. While away check your messages so your answering machine doesn’t fill up; a sure giveaway that you’re away.

Criminals look for any change in personal activity as an opening for a crime of opportunity. Apply these simple safeguards and enjoy your vacation.

As always, remember to use your intuition, think safety and be prepared. There is No Protection…without Self Protection.

For questions or more information on Personal Protection Programs for you and your family contact: Michael Starr, 631-425-0695,

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1 comment to Summer Travel and Your Home’s Security

  • On The Contrary.....

    Unfortunately, every profession, every walk of life has a few bad apples. With that in mind, under no circumstances should anyone going on vacation ever notify their Postal Service that they will be away and that they would like their mail held for a certain period of time. That conflicts with the author’s good advice to notify only a ‘few select people you trust’ about your travel plans….. the fewer, the better – by the way. I happen to notify only one neighbor. The author is wrong with respect to advising their local Postal Service to hold the mail. There are always a few bad apples who will look for an opportunity to use a resident’s vacation information in a less than honest way. I’m a retired NYC Detective and I have arrested a few Postal workers back in the day who used such vacation information by ‘selling’ it to their street friends or in some other related manner. And, while they were away, the unsuspecting victim had his home burglarized. So, don’t stop your mail…. don’t stop your newspapers ~~~ you’re just sending up a red flag. And BTW, I’m not picking on the Postal Service – by and large they’re a great bunch of honest folks. It’s just the few in any group who make it bad for the rest. And yes, I’ve arrested a few cops in my day too.

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