Protect Yourself from Vacation Season Crime

It's vacation time again, which means it's prime time for crime! Ordinary, law-abiding citizens on vacation open up a huge window of opportunity for burglars and thieves. Not only are you and your family at risk when you're in a strange place, but your home can be vulnerable when you're away. Fortunately, there are some simple common-sense measures that you can take to reduce your vulnerability.

Ensuring the security of your home while you're away can begin in simple steps. Ask your neighbors to keep an eye on your property and check on things periodically. Make sure your windows and doors are all secured properly before leaving. It's also a good idea to invest in timers or some sort of programmable system that will turn your lights on and off automatically, giving the impression that the home is employed. Motion-sensor floodlights are easy to get and easy to install, and prevent a burglar from being able to usually walk up to your house without getting hit by a spotlight.

A house sitter is, of course, your best option, but if you do not have a house sitter, be aware that the following things can be a dead give-away that the house is unoccupied: plants that are not getting watered and slowly dying, newspapers piling up in the driveway, an overflowing mailbox, a house that is perpetually dark, and no activity seen around the house for days. Ask a neighbor or friend to tend to these things for you, and you will almost eliminate most of these tell-tale signs.

As for yourself, be sure you understand one important fact: no matter how hard you try to look casual and blend in, you're going to have "tourist" written all over you when you're in an unfamiliar town or state. Take the necessary precautions to ensure that you do not become a "target". Stay in well-lighted, busy areas. Avoid shortcuts through dark areas, alleys, and side streets. Avoid flashing wads of cash when you pay for something. Do not even think about going to an ATM after dark. When you carry a purse, hold it close to your body rather than the handles. Do not wrap the purse straps around your wrist, because you can get hurt during a struggle.

While there are many common sense things that you can do to reduce your vulnerability to crime, sometimes this is not enough. A truly determined or desperate criminal will sometimes make his play in spite of circumstances. There are numerous inexpensive products available, both for the home and for personal protection, that are designed to give you an added advantage over would-be burglars and attackers. Please feel free to contact the author for more information on these additional options.