Burglars often try to find out if anyone is home by phoning. If you get several suspicious 'wrong number' calls or nobody-at-the-other-end calls, tell the police. Warn family members, especially children, not to give out information by phone especially about who is home, who is out, or how long anyone is expected to be out.
If you use an answering machine or voice mail service, do not indicate on your greeting that you will be gone for a specific time. A more appropriate message is that you screen calls and sometimes you may be home or not. If your name is in the telephone book, do not place your full name on the mail-box, door or apartment building roster. Use your first two initials and last name only. Your name on display only makes it easier for the burglar to look your phone number up in the phone book.
Make it look as if you're home
Maintaining an appearance of occupancy even when your home is vacant is essential to thwarting burglary attempts. Timers can automatically regulate television, radios, and the interior lighting of a home to create such a deception. Timers should be used while you are on vacation, when you are out to dinner or even during the day while you are at work.
One type of automatic timer has a 24-hour dial and allows you to set an on-and-off time to coincide with normal light usage in your home. These timers simply plug into the wall, and the lamp you want to use is plugged into the timer. For the most realistic deception, several timers should be used to simulate occupancy.
For instance, a television and lamp in the living room might be on from 6:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. At 11:00 p.m., a lamp might go on in the bath-room until 11:30 p.m. and a bedroom lamp might go on from 11:00 p.m. to midnight. This would indicate to anyone watching the house that it was occupied.
During the day, leave drapes and shades in their normal position the way you have them when at home. (And do not leave easily stolen valuables in sight close to windows!)
Don't advertise your vacation plans
Inform one or two people of your vacation plans a trusted neighbor who can keep an eye on things while you are gone. Have your neighbor pick up your newspaper and other deliveries. (Do not inform any delivery people that you will be on vacation.) If you will be gone for more than a week, arrange to keep your lawn maintained and for your garbage can to be put out and brought in. Notify the police/sheriff if you live in a jurisdiction which provides vacation checks.
Don't reward the burglar who does get in If, despite your precautions, a burglar does get into your home, do not give him or her a 'bonus' of cash or easily-carried jewelry. Never keep large sums of cash around the house. Keep valuable jewelry that you do not often wear in a safe deposit box.
Make sure that police, fire and paramedics can find your home in a time of emergency. Have your house numbers clearly mounted on a high contrast background. Each number should be at least four-inches. Have the numbers illuminated all night. Also, your house number should be painted on the center of the driveway next to the street. Have it repainted periodically because it can fade.
Does your police or sheriff's department have a helicopter patrol? If so, on the rear section of your roof, add your house numbers so that the helicopter patrol can locate your residence from the air. The numbers should be two feet high and a contrasting color with the background. A directional arrow and number can show the increase in house number addresses.