As most school sessions have ended, families across the nation prepare for various thrilling summer excursions, getaways, and vacations. Though many are aware of the risks associated with leaving their home unattended for several days, endless stories of burglaries indicate many still fail to implement simple safeguards when leaving a house unattended. Maintaining safety within a community requires adopting a proactive mindset and heightening awareness of surroundings. Further, according to The City of Aliso Viejo (AV) Police Services, "community involvement is one of the most effective ways to prevent burglaries and other crimes in Aliso Viejo." [i]
The City of AV Police Services is a prime example of a proactive community at work. Currently, AV Police Services continues to protect the city's coveted ranking as one of the nation's top safest cities to live in. They offer AV residents Vacation Home Checks. By proactively submitting a request for a Vacation Home Check at least seven days before their out-of-town departure, residents can help deter crime within the community. When a Vacation Home Check is performed, AV Police Services personnel will physically enter the property to inspect for "unwanted or suspicious activity," illustrating law enforcement's continued presence. [ii]
To request a Vacation Home Check, residents need to download the Vacation Checks Request Form from the city website. The Request form is a single page and includes questions to help prevent misidentifying a threat by confirming whether gardening services will be on-site, the exact vehicles that should be seen at the property, and even which lights the resident plans to leave on in the home. The completed PDF form can be emailed to Public-Safety@AVCity.org or submitted to AV City Hall in person. [iii]
Another simple way AV residents can protect their homes while away during the summer is to pause their incoming mail. If a vacation will span several weekdays, pausing incoming mail ensures that the mailbox does not have an overabundance of mail protruding from it, a telltale sign to potential burglars that no one is home or has not been for several days. The USPS accepts Hold Mail requests online to hold mail for up to 30 days. Users must create an account to submit a USPS Hold Mail Request online. Submissions can be submitted up to 30 days in advance or as late as the day prior.
Tools and ladders are another way that would-be burglars attempt to access homes. Leaving out a ladder could help unwanted entrants gain access to otherwise inaccessible entrances to a home. The same goes for tools. As such, it is the best procedure to secure any tools, ladders, benches, etc., whenever possible.
Finally, the continued safety of the AV community this summer depends on each community member looking out for one another and maintaining awareness of surroundings at all times. Even in one of the state's safest cities, remaining aware is critical! Neighbors are encouraged to become familiar with one another to provide an additional layer of protection through extra pairs of watchful eyes. The community is only as strong as its members make it, and a collective effort to commit to simple tasks such as locking doors to homes when departing and locking any vehicles left at the house.
Every individual can contribute to maintaining and enhancing the safety of AV by taking a personal interest in community involvement in safety. Remember to share safety tips and warnings with neighbors and stay alert!
Follow Me on NewsBreak for More Great Content!Charnell Gilchrist
[i] Aliso Viejo Police Services, Vacation Home Check, (N.D.)