Planning a Vacation?
Doesn’t summer feel great? The weather is warm, the kids are out of school, and relaxation is the name of the game.
A great summer should really include a great vacation, but before you plan that getaway consider this: everyone enjoys vacations, including burglars.
During the summer months, the Ukiah Police Department (UPD) investigates about 15 burglaries and more than 30 significant thefts each month. That’s more than one home burglary or felony theft every single day.
Along with losing valuables, most people tell us that being the victim of a burglary is one of the most intrusive events they have ever experienced. Imagine for a moment what it would feel like to have someone you don’t know rummaging through the most private areas of your home: your bedroom or your dresser drawers, for example. That just isn’t right.
To help prevent these crimes, we’ve published flyers with helpful information on our website; you can access them by clicking on the crime prevention button on our homepage. Here are some additional ways to protect yourself and your family this summer.
First, I know how cool it is to tell everyone about the great trip you’ve planned to that exotic beach or great camping spot, but be cautious. Please don’t mention details about your vacation on social networking sites. Posting your travel plans is like advertising for professional burglars. They love to know exactly when you will be gone!
Being careful with social media also applies to your children. Your kids might have great friends, but do you know who their friends’ friends are? Even if they aren’t burglars, would you want them in your house when you’re not there?
The best time to share your vacation photos and experiences with family and friends is after your return home.
Another good indicator to crooks that no one is home is extra newspapers, flyers, and other solicitations left at your house. Before you leave, stop all mail and newspaper deliveries, or have a trusted neighbor, friend, or relative pick them up on a daily basis. Make sure they also pick up any special deliveries from USPS, FedEx or UPS, and ask them to take trash cans to the curb on trash day.
If you can, it’s great to hire a house sitter or have a friend stop by each day. It’s also helpful to have a neighbor park their car in your driveway while you’re gone. If no one will be in your home while you’re gone, place a couple house lights on timers to help make your house look lived in.
At a minimum, give your neighbors instructions on how to reach you, and make sure they have the police dispatch number, 463-6250, in case officers need to be called. In fact, before you go, please call us and let us know when you’ll be gone, how to reach you, and request a vacation home check of your residence.
Here’s another tip that might seem obvious, but people often overlook it: lock your doors and windows (including second story windows). Consider double- or even triple-checking them before you leave, and think about placing a bar or pole in window tracks to prevent windows from being forced open. Lock any animal or pet doors, too. Burglars often use these doors to break into a residence.
Finally, if your home is equipped with an alarm system, please use it! Ensure the alarm system is working properly and tell the alarm company your vacation plans. Don’t forget to share the alarm information with someone who can respond to assist us if you’re away. And consider getting exterior motion lights; these lights are a tremendous theft deterrent.
A great vacation includes coming home to a secure house, so before you leave, make sure you take these simple steps.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.
By: Chris Dewey - Chief of Police