By Dennis Nelson
As the weather warms and school winds down, families begin planning for summer vacations. These trips are a time for fun and enjoyment visiting or being with your loved ones. You can make each trip more enjoyable and carefree if you take a few simple steps to reduce the possibility of becoming a victim of crime.
Before Leaving ... Secure Your Residence and Notify the Milton Police Department
Follow these simple precautions to reduce the chances that your house will be burglarized or vandalized while you are gone. A house that appears to be vacant or unoccupied is an appealing target for a burglar.
Make sure all locks on the doors and windows function properly and use them!
Give your house a lived-in appearance. Put automatic timers on several lights on each level of your home, on a radio and also the television. Set the timers so that the lights and appliances will turn on and off at random times.
Leave shades and blinds in a position that you would normally leave them. Burglars often watch homes and record patterns. If they notice the blinds are shut for days, that may reveal you are gone.
Arrange for a neighbor to pick up mail, newspapers and any other packages. Ask your neighbor to use your driveway and garbage cans while you are away.
Make sure smoke and burglar alarms function properly and are armed.
Turn the ringer on your telephone down or off and do not leave your lights on 24 hours a day.
Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to watch over your property while you are gone and leave emergency contact information with them.
Leave a normal message on your answering machine and avoid discussing your vacation plans in public.
Never mention or post vacation plans on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network.
Contact the Milton Police Department at (678) 242-2570 and request your home be placed on a "vacation watch". Officers will be made aware that you are not home and will drive by the area on each shift and record the time the property was checked.
Create an inventory of your property before you leave.
While on the Road
Never carry large amounts of cash; use debit or credit cards and traveler's checks.· Keep a record of your traveler's check numbers and your credit card numbers in a safe place.
Be aware of your surroundings and never advertise your plans to strangers.
Carry a flashlight with fresh batteries, reflectors or illuminating glow sticks, a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit.
Do not stop to offer help to a stranded motorist. Call 911 and advise the local law enforcement agency that a motorist needs assistance.
If your car breaks down, raise the hood and attach a white cloth to the antenna. If someone stops to help, it is advisable that you stay in your locked car and ask them to call the police, AAA or a garage. If you must abandon your car, keep all passengers together.
Always lock your car when entering or leaving it.
Always lock valuables out of sight, preferably in the trunk. Always carry wallets, checkbooks and purses with you.
Always remove your GPS unit, power cord and the GPS bracket from your windshield.
Never program your GPS unit with your home address. A thief can steal the GPS, push your "home" button and have turn-by-turn directions to your unoccupied house. Instead, program in the address of a nearby business that will place you in familiar surroundings to get home.
Do not advertise that you are a tourist. Place maps and travel brochures in the glove compartment.
Park in well-lit, busy areas.
Check the back seat before getting into your car.
Motel & Hotel Security
Determine the most direct route to and from your room, to the fire escapes, elevators and nearest phone.
When occupying or leaving your room, use all auxiliary locking devices on doors and windows (You may want to purchase a portable door lock for traveling).
Unpack and place belongings in the closet and dresser. Arrange your items so you'll know if anything is missing.
Never leave money, checks, credit cards or car keys in the room. Take them with you.
Place extra cash, expensive jewelry or other valuables in the room safe. If not available, use the hotel/motel safe.
Report any lost or stolen items to the hotel/motel management and to the police immediately.
Report to the management any suspicious movements in the corridors or rooms.
Keep This Important List of Numbers With You on Your Vacation
Driver's License #
Credit Cards: Number to call if lost/stolen
Traveler's Checks: Numbers and Number to call if lost/stolen
Don't let thieves steal your hard earned name and reputation and ruin your summer vacation. Keep your papers and valuables with you at all times.
The Milton Police Department wishes each of you a very happy and safe summer vacation and safe travels!