Have you ever seen a friend post photos of their vacation on Facebook while traveling around. We go on Facebook so regularly that I know I forget who all I am connected with. Do you know everyone that you’re connected to? Be safe – don’t tell everyone on the internet that you are traveling on vacation and your home is empty and just waiting to be broken into.

Unfortunately, no matter how much you do to prevent it, you can still get broken into. Empty homes are targets for burglars, but there are some things you can do before you leave home that can help keep you safe and minimize the inconvenience in case something goes wrong.

First, make two photocopies of all important papers you’ll be taking with you (e.g., driver’s license, passport, corporate ID). Keep one copy in your suitcase, and leave another with a trusted friend or relative. Put a small flashlight in your purse or briefcase; it can come in handy (e.g., if your car breaks down). Some cell phones even come with flashlights these days.

The steps listed below can help you avoid the distress and inconvenience of dealing with a crime:

Secure Your Home:
• Make sure all door and window locks are in working order and locked before you leave.
• If you have a home security alarm, use it! It can’t work if you don’t turn it on. If the alarm is hooked up to a security company, inform them of the dates you will be away and provide a contact phone number.
• For fire safety, unplug appliances such as air conditioners, irons, and toasters.
• Give your departure/return dates to the local police and a trusted neighbor so they can keep an eye on your house.
• Leave a complete copy of your itinerary, including contact numbers, with your office, a family member, and/or a friend.

Make Your Home Look Occupied:
• Either stop mail and newspaper deliveries or ask a trusted neighbor to collect them for you.
• Put household lights and appliances on timers so they turn on and off at appropriate times. Tune a timed radio or television to a talk-show station so voices will be heard by anyone listening outside.
• Arrange to have the grass mowed or snow shoveled while you’re gone.
• Leave a car parked in your driveway. If possible, ask a neighbor you trust to move it periodically. Alternatively, ask your neighbor to park in your driveway at night.
• Keep your usual telephone answering messages—don’t mention that you’re away.

I wish you safe travels this summer!!

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