AT THE TIME OF A VACATION
Remember that you are not safe unless a police officer reads this over your shoulder! The police are pretty effective at solving crimes. They are unable to DETER crimes. You must ensure your safety, your family’s safety, and your property’s protection.
When your house remains vacant for a long time, it is one of the periods when it is most susceptible. Potential burglars will be alerted to your absence if your windows are dark, your mail or newspapers are piling up, or your windows are closed during warmer weather.
A home sitter is an excellent way to secure your flat while away. In addition to ensuring the home is occupied, a friend you trust who stays at your house may take care of your dogs and plants.
Have a neighbor check on your apartment while you’re away. Turning on the lights, radio, or TV and opening and closing the curtains gives you the impression that someone is at home.
If you don’t have a friend or neighbor to watch over your apartment while you’re away, you should set a TV or radio on a timer in addition to the lights. If you’re anything like me, you keep your TV on almost constantly while you’re at home [NOTE: I don’t watch it, it’s just background noise.] so when you’re not there, the absence of the sound and the glowing light in the windows signal that you’re not there.
Make sure whoever is keeping an eye on your apartment while you’re gone is familiar with how to use the alarm system and who to contact in an emergency.
Stop any newspaper or other delivery unless you have a home sitter. A pile of newspapers or a stuffed mailbox are the best indicators of an empty residence. For any shipments that arrive while you’re away, ask a neighbor in the area to take them.
If you have a garden or plants on your balcony, make sure they get frequent watering or move the plants out of the way. Lack of water may cause plants to wilt, progressively alerting you to your absence.
Verify your lease. Many landlords ask that you let them know if your apartment will be vacant at any time (so they may enter in an emergency even if they can’t get in touch with you). If you have a home sitter, you may skip this step.