With school vacation week upon most of us, it's important to create & follow a Vacation Security Checklist:
Before you head out on vacation (or even if you stay), improve your home’s security and your peace of mind with these suggestions:
Replace broken screens, latches and windowpanes. Secure gates and sheds.
Don’t hide house keys outside.
In summer, turn off water heater; put A/C at 82 degrees. In winter, leave water heater on cool setting; put thermostat at 50 degrees.
Toss perishable food.
Give a neighbor a spare key. Ask them to get mail and newspapers, put trash cans in front of your house on trash day, mow and rake the lawn, and/or park in the driveway.
Turn off iron, ice-maker, electronics, and phone ringer.
Leave automatic sprinklers on, put timers on lamps, and install motion-activated lights outside.
Leave draperies open slightly on upper floors.
Don’t announce your absence with answering machine messages or notes on the front door.
Remove garage door openers and house keys from cars.
Put valuables in a safe-deposit box.
Call your local police to let them know you’ll be traveling. Some departments send patrols out to your home while you’re away.
For further peace of mind, prepay your bills so you won't have to worry about them while you're away.