County offers summer home security tips
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 10:43

Reduce risk of home break-ins during vacations

by Nicole Rodman

    Millions of Americans will hit the road, skies and seas for vacations this summer.
    While families are enjoying fun in the sun, however, their homes may be vulnerable to break-ins, fires and other catastrophes.
    To that end, the Baltimore County Police and Fire departments are offering tips to help residents enjoy safer summer vacations.
    While it may seem simple, county police and fire officials remind residents to be sure that all entry points to the home are securely locked before leaving for vacation.

This includes not just the front door but all sliding doors, basement doors, back doors or interior doors that lead to a garage.
    All windows on every level of the house should be locked as well.
    Residents should also turn off or unplug all small electronic devices, such as toasters, coffee makers, hair dryers and fans.
    Larger electronic items, such as computers or televisions, should be plugged into a surge protector in case of a power outage.
    In this way, residents can both save money on electric bills and avoid catastrophes such as fires.
    In addition, residents should be sure to turn off all faucets and check smoke detectors for fresh batteries.
    By checking exterior lights for working bulbs and trimming back trees and bushes around the house, residents can eliminate potential hiding places for burglars.   
    Before leaving on vacation, residents are also advised to tell a trusted neighbor when they are leaving and coming back.    
    If possible, residents should ask a neighbor to collect mail and newspapers.
    If no one is able to collect the mail, residents should contact the post office and ask about stopping mail delivery during the vacation.
    Uncollected mail and newspapers may alert would-be burglars that no one is home.
    In the age of social media, many vacationers share photos on Facebook and use “check-in” apps during trips.
    While this may be a good way to communicate with family and friends, police warn that it could also make someone a target for burglars.
    Officials encourage residents to refrain from “broadcasting your location” on social media and, instead, rely on more private means such as e-mail or text message to communicate with family and friends.
    For more, visit the Baltimore County Police and Fire iWatch blog at