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posted: 6/13/2013 10:52 AM

Tips for home security while on vacation

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Vernon Hills police department submission

Going away this summer? Unless the proper precautions are taken, your travel plans can be a perfect time for burglars to strike.

The Vernon Hills Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit has compiled a list of suggestions to help you strengthen the security of your home. While most of the tips are meant to assist in the event of an overnight trip, many of them are practical all year round. Taking some basic security precautions is a relatively simple thing to do and will normally cost little, if anything at all. However, not taking the right precautions can cost you plenty, both in time and headaches.

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Tip 1: STOP ALL DELIVERIES. A pile of newspapers or mail is similar to hanging out a sign telling others that no one is home.

Tip 2: INSTALL AND USE APPLIANCE TIMERS. They are inexpensive, and having one on each floor to turn a light on and off makes it appear as if someone is home. You can also use one to turn on a radio that is near a door.

Tip 3: GIVE A KEY TO A TRUSTED RELATIVE, NEIGHBOR OR FRIEND. Arrange for that person to stop in and make the house look "lived in." Some ways of doing this include moving the car in and out of the garage, opening and closing the drapes and blinds and bringing in the newspapers and mail if the deliveries weren't stopped. Also, don't forget to ask someone to cut the grass if it gets too long.

Tip 4: NEVER, EVER HIDE A KEY OUTSIDE. You're not the only one who knows that these hiding places exist -- burglars do, too!

Tip 5: CALL THE POLICE, AND ASK FOR A VACATION WATCH. This is in addition to other security steps. The police will check your house periodically while you are away. Almost all police agencies offer this free service. All it takes is for someone to not close a door completely, and you'll be glad that you called. Vernon Hills residents who would like to arrange a house watch should call (847) 362-4449.

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