Preparing your home before a vacation

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

"Give your house a lived in look--that's what's most important," said Jonesboro Police Sergeant, Steve McDaniel.

While your house might be empty during a vacation, it doesn't have to look that way.  McDaniel says there's more to preparing for a vacation than just packing a bag.

"Nothing says the house is vacant more than 5 or 6 newspapers piled up at the end of the driveway.   You don't have to be a criminal to realize that," said McDaniel.

McDaniel urges people to stop all deliveries and have a trusted neighbor pick up items like packages, papers, and mail.  Also, don't publicize that you're on vacation on social networking sites. You might be sending a costly message.

"That could also be letting criminals know that their house is sitting vacant and could be a real target," said McDaniel.

Here are some other things to keep in mind before leaving on vacation:

Make sure to lock all the doors and don't forget the windows.

Use timers for lights

Consider taking valuables to a bank safety deposit box.

Police also urge recording serial numbers of big ticket items like computers, guns and TV's.  You can even take photos of them.  You'll be glad you did in the event your home is burglarized.

"It's a lot easier to identify something if we have a digital photo than if we just have a written description of it," said McDaniel.

McDaniel says it's also important to remember not just when people are away, but everyday--if you notice something suspicious in the area, call authorities immediately.

"That's what we do-we answer calls, and we want the opportunity to check out the suspicious person," said McDaniel.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you're on vacation:

If staying in a hotel or motel, take all luggage and valuables in your room

Keep extra cash and valuables locked in the hotel safe

Don't leave keys or valuables unattended in your room

Keep daily checks of your belongings

Ask hotel clerks for places to avoid

Males are advised to carry their wallets in an inside pocket or front trouser pocket, females are advised to carry their purse under their arm.

Label luggage

If you're a tourist, don't advertise the fact.

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