Editorial: Summer safety makes your time away a true vacation

The serenity of vacation can easily be disrupted by chaos if safety precautions aren’t taken before you leave — Susan Shultz photo

It’s mid-July, and though many of us are on vacation, potential criminals are not. Just take a look at the most recent police reports from the Darien Police.

If you plan on going on vacation, do your best to have your house appear occupied. Have family, friends or neighbors keep an eye on your house and give them your contact information while away.

Save the sharing

Never announce your vacation plans online — including travel or vacation blogs, email groups, Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites. If you “check in” on those sites at a distant location, everyone knows you aren’t home. Save the sharing for when you return.

Lock it up

Install good locks on doors and windows and make sure they are locked. (And while we’re at it, make sure your car is locked while on vacation, and always!) Never leave a key hidden outside, under a pot, mat, or fake rock — someone could find it while you’re away.

Somebody’s home

Nothing alerts a criminal like piled up newspapers, mail and packages. Stop all deliveries or arrange for someone to pick them up. Not only does it say no one’s home, it also leaves mail and packages vulnerable to theft, identity or otherwise.

Arrange for someone to mow your lawn and maintain the yard while you are away. This keeps your home looking lived in.

Place your inside lights and a radio on timers so that they go on and off, periodically in the evening hours.

Hide your garbage cans out of sight. If your garbage cans are empty when everyone else’s are full, it is a sign that you are not at home.

Be sure to close and lock the garage door, too.

Leave your blinds and drapes in their normal position on second floor windows (closed on ground level so no one can look inside and view an empty home).

Be safe, not sorry

When you return home if it looks like someone has entered  your home — Darien Police advise to not go inside. Instead use a cell phone or go to a neighbor’s house or other safe location to contact the police at 203-662-5300. Let the police check the home before you go inside.

Precautionary steps before you leave behind all your worries and head off to a fun vacation will ensure you won’t have double the worries when you get back.

And while we’re at it — whether you are on vacation or not — lock all your doors, don’t leave your belongings in your car, and most of all, don’t leave your keys in your unoccupied cars. They work as well for thieves as they do for you.