The last thing you want to worry about while you're taking a much-deserved vacation is whether your home is safe and secure.
We asked Cleveland Heights Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson if he could provide safety tips for residents to help protect their homes and their peace of mind.
To sum it up, make sure your home looks occupied.
"These are a few precautions that people for one reason or another do not do ... most property crimes against vacant homes are committed as a crime of opportunity," Robertson said. "If the residence looks unoccupied, it is a better 'target' than the one that looks as if someone is home or maybe coming home at anytime."
Here are a few suggestions from Robertson:
- Make sure that you tell a responsible friend or relative that you are going on vacation and the dates of your travel. Have this person keep an eye on your house routinely so they can report any suspicious activity to the police.
- Notify the (216-321-1234) that you will be away from the house so that your residence can be placed on the vacation watch list. Let the Department know the location of timers in the home and if anyone will have a key to the residence for emergency contact. Make sure to contact the police upon your return.
- Cancel your mail and newspaper deliveries or have them picked up daily.
- Make sure the exterior of your home is well lit at night.
- Don't leave valuables such as computers in plain view through your windows.
- Do not hide a key outside for persons watching the house. This is a practice to be followed at all times. Also, do not leave extra keys to your cars inside your home while you're away.
- Notify neighbors or trusted friends in your neighborhood that you will be out of town so that they are aware that you are away.
- Remove anything that can be used to gain entry to your home such as ladders, tables and chairs.
- Landscaping should be trimmed around the house to prevent "blind" spots where a person could hide or have his actions not visible from the street.
- Lock all doors and windows any time you are away from home. When going to bed at night, make sure to lock downstairs windows and doors also.
- If you see something suspicious, call the police. A burglary occurred July 9 on Woodridge where the entry was made through an unlocked rear window. The neighbor had seen the suspect walking up the driveway, but did not call police.