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Making a Clean Get-away


When preparing to leave for your snowbird destination, it’s important to keep burglars and good household management in mind.  Following these steps should give you some peace of mind while you’re away:


Outside

  1. BulletBring in all lawn furniture, ladders, and stackable boxes. 

  2. BulletUnhook all outside hoses so they don’t freeze

  3. BulletTrim all plants and bushes so all doors and windows are easily seen from the street

  4. BulletEmpty trash cans = empty house.  Put trash cans inside or have a neighbor use yours each week


Lights

  1. BulletInstall motion light detectors in the front and back of your house.  Position the lights so it’ll detect anyone approaching from the side of your house.  Install the lights up high so someone cannot unscrew the bulb or block the light

  2. BulletMake sure your light bulbs are working before you leave on vacation

  3. BulletUse a timer for lights, radios, and televisions.  Time each to turn on randomly in different rooms throughout the entire day


Inside

  1. BulletTurn off your hot water heater, water to your washing machine, and water to your dishwasher.  If any of the connections fail on these appliances, it could flood your entire house.

  2. BulletMove items off the floor and/or away from basement windows in case of natural or appliance flooding

  3. BulletDiscard any perishable items in your refrigerator and freezer.  Have someone check periodically to make sure the power doesn’t go out.  It’d be quite unpleasant to return to a refrigerator full of rotting food!

  4. BulletStore valuables in places or other locations that a burglar could not access.  (i.e., take jewelry to a safe-deposit box, lock computers in closets, hide keys to extra cars, etc.)  Be sure to remove all valuables from sight, especially if a thief looks in through your windows

  5. BulletTake photographs or videos of all expensive items.  This is helpful for both the police and the insurance agency (if you have a homeowner's policy), to identify the stolen goods.

  6. BulletUse an engraving pen to mark these items with some kind of personal identifying information, such as your initials, in an inconspicuous place. This also helps record your possessions in case of any other mishap, such as fire or flood.

  7. BulletTurn the ringers off on any telephones, so thieves can’t hear if no one is answer the phone. 

  8. BulletDon’t leave a message on the answering machine that tells callers you’re out-of-town.  Instead, say you’re away from the phone and you’ll get back to them.


Windows

  1. BulletMake sure that all windows are closed and locked before leaving.  In basement windows, install a metal grate or a steel bar in window track to deter burglars

  2. BulletDon’t draw all of the curtains and/or blinds closed.  This signals that no one is home


Garage

  1. BulletLock all doors leading into the house.  This way, if someone opens the garage door, they’ll be unable to gain access to the house.

  2. BulletCover garage windows with blinds so people can’t see valuables in the garage  Also, install a padlock on track garage doors, so thieves can’t use a  crowbar to open them

  3. BulletUnplug your automatic garage-door opener


Services

  1. BulletArrange for a neighbor to: park their car in your driveway, check for extra newspapers, fliers, and packages.  Give your neighbor your contact information

  2. BulletArrange for someone to mow your lawn and shovel your walkways

  3. BulletGive your household plants to a friend or family member to water and take care of

  4. BulletHold your mail or have a mail service send it to you at your snowbird destination

  5. BulletHold newspaper delivery a few days before leaving to ensure that it stops

  6. BulletStop your trash service

  7. BulletSome police departments have vacation check programs. Notify them, and generally they will do a routine check of the house. While some will only drive by and look for suspicious activity, some will get out of their vehicles and inspect the grounds looking for any break-ins. If contact information is left with the police, they can phone the homeowners if there has been a break-in or disturbance. Upon return, they will usually send a card, listing dates and patrol times.

  8. BulletIf you’re concerned about the crime rate, contact your local police department to find out the rate of home burglaries in your area.


Companies to contact with your new address

Whether you have a friend get your mail, the post office hold your mail, or a company forward your mail, it’s important that you RECEIVE your mail!  Don’t forget to contact these companies with your new change of address:


  1. BulletMortgage company

  2. BulletWater company

  3. BulletElectric company

  4. BulletTrash company

  5. BulletPhone company

  6. BulletCar insurance company

  7. BulletSocial security office

  8. BulletCredit card company

  9. BulletBank

  10. BulletMedical offices

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