Tips for a Crime Free Summer
Summer brings with it a lot of the activities that are normally reserved specifically for this time of year. None are more important than family vacations.
Keep valuable items out of sight when locked inside your vehicle. Potential thieves will normally bypass empty seats.
During these vacation times, the house is often left alone for a few days to a few weeks while you're having a great time with family. Unfortunately, burglars know this also. So what can you do so those that are determined to break into an empty house do not choose yours?
For starters, you need to make the house look as though it is not empty. Sounds easier said than done, right? Not really. Here are a few simple tips:
- Make friends with your trusted neighbors. During vacation time, the "nosier" the neighbor, the better. Let them know when you will be away, which cars should be on your property, any deliveries scheduled to arrive, and your return date. Have them take in your newspaper and check your mail. If you are really friendly with them, ask them to move your cars around just a bit, in order to give the feel that the cars are just not sitting there. They can also move your garbage can around and/or take it to the curb on collection day. Make sure your neighbors have your contact information. (This is the essence of a Neighborhood Crime Watch that I enthusiastically suggest all neighborhoods work towards establishing. Areas that have active Neighborhood Crime Watches, statistically, have lower crime rates than surrounding areas.)
- Share any special information with your trusted neighbor. For example, while you're away you may have left the curtains open about three feet. If for some reason, the neighbor sees that the curtain is totally shut, he/she should be suspicious. Remember, the first thing a burglar would normally do is shut all the blinds and curtains.
- Leave a light (lamp) on inside the house on a timer. In fact, get two timers, and schedule two different time frames for two different lamps to go on in different areas of the house. Make sure you tell your neighbor about the timers, so they do not see lights go on and off then call the police.
- Inexpensive timers can be set on multiple schedules to deter would-be thieves
- You can come to the Havelock Police Department and fill out a "Residential Security Check" form. The Havelock Police Department does not protect your home while you are away, but they will go by during various times during the days/nights while you are gone, and will perform cursory checks around your property to ensure all is as it should be.
- While away from home and on the road, make sure you do not stand out as a tourist. Do not read maps while off the exit ramp in an area that you are not familiar with. Wait until you get to a rest stop or a well-populated area. A lot of tourists have been robbed (at gunpoint) by people they have asked for directions from. Remember, you do not hear any more American Express Traveler's Checks commercials anymore. No one carries them! People either carry cash or credit/debit cards.
- If lost, once exiting a highway, do not stop in an unfamiliar area asking people for directions.
- When stopping to eat or to walk around, make sure all your luggage is in the trunk. People prey on unoccupied cars, filled to the brim with luggage and other valuables, at traffic stops and/or tourist areas. If you have a car with no trunk, then one person should stay with the vehicle.
- Along those same lines, park your car in a well-lit area. Lights are the enemy of those offenders who prefer to work at night.
The bottom line is whether you are away from home or having a "stay-cation," being aware of your surroundings and thinking proactively can make all the difference in the world.
Have a great summer!
Don't let this happen to you.