* Notify your family and local law enforcement agency of your departure and return dates but don’t otherwise publicize your travel or vacation plans. Leave contact numbers with appropriate mission personnel.
* Arrange to have a friend or colleague pick up your newspapers, mail, or other deliveries daily.
* Secure your home. Close and lock all windows and doors. Don’t forget to lock the garage or gate doors.
* Consider purchasing timers to turn on outside and inside lights automatically at various times throughout the night.
* Check outside lighting and replace older light bulbs. You don’t want a light burning out while you are away.
* Ask a friend or colleague to check your residence periodically, ensuring your furnace or air conditioning is functioning, and that timers and lights are working.
* The decision to set the automated alarm system may vary from region to region. Power outages and brownouts may trip alarm systems. Check with your security officer for advice on setting alarm systems when you are away for long periods of time.
* Unplug all unnecessary appliances such as televisions, stereos, and personal computers.
* Mow your lawn just before leaving; make arrangements to have someone mow it again if you are gone for an extended period of time. Also, arrange for watering, if that is likely to be needed.
* In the winter, make arrangements to have someone shovel walkways if it snows. At a minimum, have a neighbor walk from the street to your door several times.
* If possible, ask a neighbor to park a car in your driveway (if you are taking yours).
* If you use a telephone answering machine, turn off the ringer on the telephone. If you don’t have an answering machine, unplug or turn off ringers on all telephones.
* Lock all jewelry, important papers, currency, and other valuable portables in a safe place such as a safe deposit box or home safe.
* Ensure all personal and home insurance policies are up-to-date and that your coverage is adequate.
Preparing your home before you head out on vacation will minimize the chances of theft while you are gone. A little bit of common sense to secure your home and valuables will give you peace of mind while traveling overseas.
Nothing will ruin a vacation like finding out your house got broken into while you were away. Follow these common-sense tips to ensure better security during your travels. An ounce of security prevention is worth a pound of cure. Be safe and have a great vacation.