Going out of town crime prevention tips

I realize that after the last April blizzard weekend we went through many of us were waiting for the snow to melt — and not thinking about opening the cabin or taking our annual Fishing Opener weekend getaway, or even thinking about our fast approaching summer vacation.  So as the weather gets warmer and the ice finally goes out on the lakes we will start planning our weekend getaways. Our summer vacations will be here before you know it. Let us take a minute and think about how to make our weekend cabin trips and summer vacations less stressing. The following crime prevention tips are designed to allow the vacationer to enjoy a safe and secure trip and to return to a secure residence.

Secure your residence

  • Make sure all the locks on the doors and windows function properly and use them.
  • Make sure your residence looks lived in and not empty.
  • Leave the shades and blinds, doors and windows in a position that you would normally have them.
  • Ask several neighbors to keep an eye on your residence while you are away. Leave your vacation address and telephone number with the neighbors so you can be reached in an emergency.
  • Make sure your smoke and burglar alarms are functioning properly and armed.
  • Arrange for a neighbor to pick up your deliveries: mail, newspaper and any other packages.
  • Arrange for someone to maintain your yard so your home appears occupied.
  • Have someone place your garbage cans at the curb for normal pickup and put them away after the pickup has been made.
  • Make sure you have timers for lights, television or radios so they turn on and off at the appropriate times.
  • Turn the ringer on the telephone down low or off, so a possible intruder will not be alerted to your absence by a ringing telephone. If you can, forward your calls to your cellular phone or a trusted individual.
  • Leave a normal message on your answering machine; do not announce your absence on the answering machine.
  • If you plan on being gone an extended time ask a neighbor to park in your driveway while you are gone so it will appear that someone is home. If you leave your car at home, park as you normally would.
  • Consider taking valuables that you cannot live without to a safety deposit box.
  • Do not advertise your plans on social media.

On vacation

  • Try not to carry large amounts of cash; use credit/debit cards or traveler’s checks. If you must carry large sums of money do not openly display it.
  • Do not carry more credit cards than you will need. Keep a list of all traveler’s check numbers and credit card numbers in a safe place. Have telephone numbers to call if either are lost or stolen.
  • Never advertise your plans to strangers; this includes travel routes and the amount of cash you are carrying.
  • Do not stop for hitchhikers or stranded motorists. If you want to help, call for assistance for them.
  • If you suspect that someone is following you, drive to the nearest well-populated place and call 911 or use your cellular phone for emergency assistance.
  • Do not leave any tickets (airline, train, bus) in open view. They are as valuable as cash.
  • Males are advised to carry wallets in an inside pocket or the front pocket of their pants. Females should carry their purses under their arm with a firm grasp.
  • Mark your luggage so it is easily identified. Take pictures of your luggage so airline personnel can identify it if it is lost.
  • Be sure your luggage is locked and labeled with your name and telephone number. Someone can call you if your luggage is found. If you have a business address, label it on the luggage for a return address.

By following these tips your time away should be fun and relaxing.