How to safeguard your home while on vacation or out of town

It is easy to understand that your home and property is perhaps most vulnerable to theft and vandalism during extended periods of absence. Of course, there is typically no longer period of absence from the home than you are away on vacation. In an effort to prevent an exciting vacation coming to a sad end, we have provided the following list of safeguarding tips to remember prior to you leaving. We hope that these tips are useful and prevent a criminal act from occurring to you.
* Strive to make your home look as lived-in as possible while you’re away.

* Don’t broadcast your plans but do let your neighbors and local law enforcement know.

* Give a spare key to your neighbors and give them an emergency telephone number to reach you.

* Arrange to have your mail and newspapers either stopped or picked up daily.

* Have someone mow your yard or rake the leaves so your house looks lived-in.

* Use automatic timers to turn on a radio and lights at different intervals to hide the fact you aren’t home.

* Turn down the ringer on the telephone. An unanswered telephone is a dead give-away.

* Be sure you don’t announce your absence on your answering machine message.

* Leave your blinds like you normally would if you were home. Only close them all the way if that is what you would normally do.

* Be sure to close and lock the garage as well as any storage sheds, gates, etc.

* Engrave all your valuables with your driver’s license number. If possible videotape the contents of your home. Be sure to keep the video and the list of valuables in a safety deposit box.

* Ask your neighbor to occasionally park in your driveway. If you are leaving a vehicle parked outside, have the neighbor move it periodically so it looks as though you are home.

* Be sure someone knows your itinerary and your estimated time of arrival and return.

For further information on this or others safety topics please contact the University of Florida Police Department’s Community Services Division at 392-1409.