Preparing Your House For VacationA vacation away from home should be a pleasant experience for you and your family. Returning to a home that has been broken into is a very unpleasant homecoming. Your vacation will be more enjoyable and carefree when you know your home is secure. This information is designed to help you protect your home by following a few simple safety tips. Some of the tips should be done well in advance of leaving on your trip; others can be done a day before or the day you leave.

One Month Prior To Departure

  • Repair broken doors and windows.
  • Install good quality locking devices on all exterior doors and windows (if you haven't already done so). The Crime Prevention Unit can assist you by conducting a "home security survey" and making suggestions on how you might secure your home. Call 760-839-4425 for an appointment.
  • Come to the Escondido Police Department and request a "Vacation House Check" or download a copy online. Fill out the form and return it to the Escondido Police Department.
  • Notify a neighbor or friend in advance to:
  • Pick up your mail.
  • Mow and water your lawn (if you will be out of town for an extended time).
  • Pick up newspapers and circulars from your driveway, entry area, and yard.
  • Feed your pets.
  • Turn lights on and off for you if they won't be set on a timer or photoelectric sensor.

A Day Or Two Prior To Departure

  • Mow the lawn and trim shrubbery. Shrubs and hedges should be trimmed to below windowsill height. Trees should be trimmed to six fee above the ground for increased visibility by your neighbors.
  • Store all ladders, tools, lawn equipment, etc., in a locked storage shed or garage.
  • Take your valuables (expensive jewelry, important documents, to the bank safe deposit box.

Day Of Departure

  • Turn down the volume of your phone so it can't be heard from the outside. Don't leave a message on your answering machine that you will be out of town.
  • Unplug small appliances such as fans, toasters, and electric coffeepots.
  • Set electric timers to turn on and off lights during the evening hours. Consider installing times in the living room/family room area and in one or more bedrooms to go on and off during the evening.
  • If you leave a car in your driveway, park it up against the garage door. Make sure the vehicle is locked and all valuables are out of sight.
  • Bolt the garage door from the inside. Unplug the garage door opener or switch it to vacation mode.
  • Make sure all doors and windows in your home (including two-story) are closed and locked securely.
  • Leave a key and the phone number where you can be reached with your Emergency Contact person.
  • Just before you leave, walk around the outside of your home and double-check to make sure everything is secure. Remove any large items that could be used to access second-story windows.
  • Turn off water to washer and turn water heater down to low/vacation setting.