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Going to be out of town for a few days on vacation or business? Make sure you read this checklist on burglary prevention before you leave.

Most people believe that burglary happens only to others, but it can happen to you. Home burglary is an inevitable fact of life for residents of inner cities and suburban communities alike. Drive down any street after dark, and ask yourself which homes would most likely be targeted by burglars. Police Department statistics show that burglary and theft occurs most often in an unoccupied house; burglars want to steal things without having to deal with a witness.

It is very important that you do not post your plans on any social networking site like Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. The information you post is available for people to read and is becoming available through search engines like Google and Bing. If you want to inform people that you will be away, do it in person, or call them, but DO NOT post that information on any social networking site. Criminals are now using those sites to see who will not be home, and when they will not be home.

Usually when you are home, various lights are turned on and off at different times throughout the evening. If you leave your home dark, everyone, including burglars, will know you are not home.

Making your home look occupied when you’re away will discourage burglars. Using common sense and simple, inexpensive timers will make your home more secure. Many homes are equipped with alarm systems. Although an excellent idea, alarm systems will not deter all burglars. IT IS PARAMOUNT THAT YOUR HOME APPEAR TO BE OCCUPIED.

Your home becomes most vulnerable when you are gone for an extended period of time.

The following suggestions will make your home more secure:

  1. Make sure all lamps, radios and TVs on timers are functional and switched ON. Set timers to round-the-clock schedules. Exterior sensor lights are good, however interior lights must be on to give the house an occupied appearance.
  2. Adjust blinds and draperies to make the house appear occupied.
  3. Remove ladders from sight and lock them away.
  4. Arrange for a friend or neighbor to check your home regularly.
  5. Ask neighbors not to tell strangers or repairmen of your absence.
  6. Cancel newspapers and all other home deliveries, or arrange for a neighbor to pick them up.
  7. Arrange to have your mail forwarded or held at the post office.
  8. Arrange to have your lawn mowed.
  9. Put jewelry, furs, cameras, coin collections, etc. in a safe deposit box or other safe place.
  10. List appliances and valuable home contents with serial numbers, purchase dates and prices. Keep the list in a safe deposit box.
  11. Lock off windows and doors. Don’t forget the basement and garage.
  12. Do not leave the house keys anywhere outside the house. Leave a key with a trusted neighbor or friend in case of emergency.
  13. Do not leave a note on the door, which may indicate your absence.
  14. Contact the Sheriff's Office at 815-727-8575 and request a Vacation House Check form be filled out for your residence.

Information provided in part by Borough of Franklin Lakes.