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Huber: Keeping it all safe while you're away

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Summer is the prime time for vacations or traveling to the lakes for extended stays.

Addressing that fact, local law enforcement officials have been ramping up a public campaign encouraging homeowners to help make their residents as safe and sound as possible during those absences so they don't fall victim to either a planned or random burglary.

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Burglaries can occur any time of the day or night. Making it easier are homeowners who unknowingly neglect to make sure all of their windows and entry doors are locked and secure. If you have multiple garage accesses, it's easy to forget, but you should routinely do a check whether you are simply going to bed at night or especially if you are planning for any kind of lengthy trip. The last thing you want to do is leave a calling card that makes it easier for some unwanted intruder to enter your home.

A few helpful tips put in place before departure will add to peace of mind and an enjoyable vacation.

Among them: Lock all doors and windows. Make the home look occupied by connecting some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day. Discontinue daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers to avoid a build up. Arrange to have mail held at the post office or have a friend or neighbor take the mail in. Arrange for lawn mowing. Check the locks on doors and windows to make sure they are secure and not in need of replacing. Put deadbolts on all outside doors, and lock them. Brace sliding glass doors. Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other "secret" hiding places. Keep a detailed inventory of valuable possessions. Trim shrubbery around your home to reduce cover for burglars. Install good exterior lighting such as motion sensor lights. Don't announce that you are out of town on answering machine messages. Notify a neighbor or Neighborhood Watch Group that you will be away so they can monitor your home and report suspicious behavior. Lastly, consider installing a burglar alarm system.

Being proactive can go a long way in keeping would-be criminals out and preventing the loss of precious, irreplaceable items.

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