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Forest Hills Security Tips When You Are Away Tips

It’s vacation time and we all get so distracted when we prepare to leave.  Down to the hurried departure time, we find ourselves neglecting our home security.

Our Forest Hills off-duty police patrol puts the bad guys on notice that the neighborhood may not be good target after all, but what kind of message are you broadcasting about your house?

These are tips to ensure you don’t come home after your holiday and find it wrapped in yellow crime tape! 

1. Before you pack your bags, be sure your security system is operating correctly, you have paid the city security permit fee and your emergency contact numbers with your security company have been updated.  Be sure the alarm is loud outside as well as inside.  Use visible security company lawn signs and decals.  A good time to remember to check your security and smoke detector alarm system is when you change the time in the spring and fall.

2. Let your neighbors on each side, across the street and behind you know that you will be gone and ask them to please keep an eye on your home.  Have someone come by in the morning and evening to check on things.  Give them a key, don’t hide it outside.

Have someone park a car in your driveway during the day, a different place each time.  Make it look like there is everyday activity.  Be sure they put it in their garage at night or it might become the target.

If your window coverings are closed or open certain times of the day, have a friend or neighbor set the same stage.  Window shopping is a favorite pastime for crooks.  Keep the curious eyes of smash and runners from seeing what you worked hard for.

3. Use timers to turn lights, radios and TV’s on and off at times to simulate their normal use.  Consider installing a timer on light switch plates for porch or other outside door lights. One that is not décor invasive, fitting flat in the switch plate is the small Intermatic’s electronic timer (EI600LAC) with a battery backup, which can be set to come on according to daily sunset and sunrise times 24-7, all year long. Cost is around $60. Leaving your porch, driveway or garage lights on 24 hours a day is a clear indication that no one is home.

4. Keep the lawn mowed and newspapers, doorknob circulars and mail picked up.  Keeping up appearances creates the impression someone is at home.

5. Give an itinerary to neighbors and friends, listing hotel and cell phone numbers. If you are a FH security program participant, please fill out or email the home watch form Home Watch Form with all these details and special instructions.  Give two additional neighbors keys in case firefighters or police need to enter the house in the event of an emergency.

6. Consider reinforcing your doors. The weakest point is almost always a flimsy lock strike plate. Upgrade to a four-screw heavy-duty strike plate, using 3-inch wood screws to go deep into the doorframe. One exceptional product, reasonably priced is Sure-Strike.  www.sure-strike.com

7. Make a list of model and serial numbers and consider engraving your driver’s license on electronic items.  Password protect your computer. Take photographs of valuables like jewelry and silverware and make copies of contents in your wallet. Keep all this info somewhere other than in your house or on the home computer.

8. Don’t leave car keys or important papers on counter tops that are easy to grab and run with.

You cannot make your home, your property or yourself totally crime proof,  but you can make them crime resistant. Remove the target.

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