For those leaving town over spring break, there are several precautions they can take to minimize the chances of coming back to a ransacked or burned down house.
“It’s a good idea to stop your mail and newspaper delivery because that way people won’t know you are gone,” said Sgt. Ed Bozic from the CSU Police Department.
He recommends keeping one or two lights on a timer, so they will turn on and off throughout the night at irregular intervals.
“Make sure your doors are locked and secure,” Bozic said. “Ask a neighbor you respect and trust to keep an eye on the house.”
Jason Mantas, spokesman for the Poudre Valley Fire Authority, said leaving contact information with neighbors is smart.
Bozic recommends turning off the washer and dryer to prevent flooding and replacing the batteries in the smoke detector. Other appliances to unplug include coffee pots, toasters, electric toothbrushes and hair dryers, Mantas said.
“Obviously, don’t leave candles burning. Make sure light bulbs are not touching material or plastic lamp shades,” Mantas said. “Close most of the drapes and blinds.”
It is better to leave the porch light off than have it on all day. People are more likely to know residents are gone if their light is constantly on. Having a timer on an outside light is another beneficial safety precaution, Bozic said.
“Most burglars don’t carry ladders with them. Robberies typically occur on the first floor or in window wells that are hidden from view,” Bozic said. “Covering window wells is a good idea. You can also buy attachable magnets that set off an alarm when the seal is broken.”
Certain trees or thorny bushes can aid in preventing vandalism because they are difficult to get around. On the other hand, leafy bushes may provide concealment, Bozic said.
“Front doors aren’t really touched,” Bozic said. “Sensor lights for the backdoors are fabulous because they make burglars think someone is home.”
Staff writer Amy Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more Spring Break safety tips go online at http://www.ibhs.org/publications/view.asp?cat=68&id=493 and http://louisville.edu/admin/dehs/preparingyou/vacation/.