A vacant house-or one that appears to be vacant-is an appealing target to a burglar. This is true during the work day when everyone may be at work or school, or during a vacation, a weekend away from home, or a business trip. You can alleviate day-to-day worries and make a trip more carefree if you will take a few simple steps to reduce the possibility that your home will be burglarized or vandalized while you are gone.
Although you should always be aware of leaving windows and doors closed and locked whenever you will be out of the home, there are a number of things to consider when you are going to be away for a weekend or longer.
Returning to a home that has been broken into is an unpleasant finish to any trip. Never give a burglar a break.
At least one day before you leave
--Arrange with a neighbor or relative to watch your house and give them a key. Let them know where and how you can be reached in an emergency. Write their telephone number down so you can check with them during your trip.
--Arrange with a neighbor to pick up and hold your mail and newspapers so they don't pile up. If this is not possible, notify your newscarrier and the post office to discontinue these deliveries.
--Make arrangements to have grass cut and watered while you are gone. Have someone check daily to remove throwaway papers and circulars from your doorway and yard.
--If you have valuables in the house, take them to your bank for storage in a safe deposit vault. Deposit extra cash into your bank account.
--Notify your local police station about your departure and return dates and give a name and telephone number of a neighbor or relative to notify in case of an emergency. Give the police any vehicle information that may be left on your property while you are away, or vehicles of family or friends that will periodically check the residence. The Town of Newburgh Police Department offers this service free of charge.
--Move all ladders, tools, lawn implements, garbage cans and yard furniture to your garage, basement or storage shed.
--Make sure any windows and doors are functioning properly and if broken, repair.
On the day you leave
--Close and lock all windows and doors. Make sure that a "Charley bar" is secure on sliding doors.
--Put shades in normal daytime position. Make sure all main floor drapes, shades and curtains are arranged so that neighbors and police can see into your house.
--Set your electrical timer to turn some lights on and off during the evening hours.
--Turn down the volume control on your telephone/answering machine so that it cannot be heard from outside.
--Lock any vehicles in your driveway or yard.
--Lock garage and shed.
--Unplug all electrical appliances such as television sets, radios, computers, etc., to prevent possible damage from storms.
--Makes sure all gas appliances are in good working order, and that pilot lights are functioning properly.
--Set your thermostat so that your furnace or air conditioner will maintain a proper temperature--78 degrees F in the winter, and 55 F degrees in the summer.
--Remove hoses from spicket, and turn off water to the spicket from inside the house.
--Close your fireplace flue to prevent birds or animals from entering.
--Make sure the last person out locks the door. Take a walk around the house, check the windows and doors.
Have a safe trip!