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posted: 6/13/2014 12:49 PM

Home security tips while you're on vacation

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Vernon Hills Police Department submission

Going away this summer? Whether your travel plans are for one month or one day, unless the proper precautions are taken, it can also be a perfect time for a burglar to strike.

The Vernon Hills Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit has compiled a list of suggestions to help 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.

Tip 1: Stop all deliveries. A pile of newspapers or mail is like hanging out a sign telling others 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 though someone is home. You can also use one to turn on a radio near a door.

Tip 3: Give a key to a trusted relative, neighbor or friend. Arrange for that person to stop in every so often 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 hide a key outside. You're not the only one who knows that these things 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.

Vernon Hills residents who would like to arrange a house watch should call (847) 362-4449, then press 0.