You probably do not know this about me but for close to 10 years I was the area coordinator for the Neighborhood Watch Program in all of Highlands Ranch. As a matter of fact we actually assisted in solving a break in or two and prevented an abduction in the neighborhoods! All because the neighbors looked out for each other. I had to give it up as we approached 5000 names in the database and the Douglas County Sheriff got the community relations department a computer. But I learned a lot about safety and signals to the bad guys. The newspaper from Thursday in the drive on Saturday was always the best. But read on...
Along with all the planning of what you're going to do and where you're going to stay, consider this checklist to make you feel more comfortable while you're away from home.
- Ask a trusted friend to pick up your mail, newspaper and keep yard picked up to avoid an appearance of not being at home.
- Stop your mail (USPS Hold Mail Service) and your newspaper.
- Don't post about your trip on Facebook and other social media until you return; some burglars look for this type of announcement to schedule their activities.
- Do notify police or neighborhood watch - especially if you're going to be gone for more than just a few days. Let your monitoring service know when you'll be gone and if someone will be checking on your home for you.
- Light timers make it look like someone is home. Set multiple timers for various times to better simulate someone at home. There are plug-in modules for lights and appliances that would allow you to control them from your phone while your out of town.
- Do unplug certain appliances - TV, computers, toaster ovens that use electricity even when they're off and to protect them from power surges.
- Don't hide a key; burglars know exactly where to look for your key and it only takes them a moment to check under the mat, above the door, in the flower pot or in a fake rock.
These easy-to-handle suggestions may protect your belongings while you're gone while adding a level of serenity to your trip.
One other item for those of you from the more humid areas of the country now living in the semi arid climate of Highlands Ranch...DO NOT TURN OFF THE SPRINKLERS! The lawn will die in a week without water. Seen it. Been there. If you are worried about it, ask the neighbor to go inside and check it. But it is up to you. Of course please contact me with any other questions, or the Douglas County Sheriff at www.dcsheriff.net for their vacation house check program.