It's the season for vacations, for going to the beach or mountains, or just visiting relatives for a week or so.
Both the Avondale Estates and Decatur police departments have some advice for travelers who want to return to a home that hasn't been burglarized.
Avondale Estates Police Chief Gary L. Broden told residents to "always remember that crime does not take a vacation."
"Traditionally, during the summer months there is a rise in criminal activity, especially thefts from vehicles, carports and of items left unattended in the yard," said Broden. "These crimes could be classified basically as “crimes of opportunity” and can be combated with crime prevention measures."
Broden's advice to "discourage and make it more difficult to commit these larcenous activities" will serve travelers no matter where they reside.
- Lock vehicles when not in use – place all valuables in the trunk compartment or better yet, take them inside your home.
- Do not leave valuable items (i.e. mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws and etc…) unattended in your yard or visible in the carport.
- Secure and lock gates, garage doors and storage shed doors after each use.
- Remember to close and lock your doors and windows when you are away from home, regardless how long or short the time period.
- Keep your bicycle(s) and sports equipment inside a closed garage or house when not in use.
- When on vacation, carry only those credit and ATM cards that you absolutely need; leave all others secured at home or in a bank deposit box.
- Senior citizens should consider using direct deposit for social security checks and other regular payments. Thefts from mailboxes also increase during the summer months.
- Before leaving on vacation, complete a security check form requesting the Avondale Estates Police Department to check your home during your absence.
- When at home and/or not on vacation, be your neighbor's “watch dog” and call 911 immediately if you should notice any suspicious person(s) or activity around their home or yours.
Residents should contact the Avondale Estates Police Department at (404) 294-5410 with any questions.
Decatur residents also can sign up with the police department for vacation checks, in which an officer will check the home daily while the resident is gone. You can call the police department at (404) 373-6551, or sign up online at the Decatur city's request for services site.
On the form, you can tell the department when you're leaving and will return, where you can be reached while you're away, whether you have an alarm, if you've stopped the newspaper and mail, which neighbors are checking the house, and whether any cars will be parked in your driveway.
For department scheduling purposes, residents are asked not to enter information until 7 days prior to departure.
Remember to drive carefully and buckle up while you're on the road. And no texting while driving. Trips to the emergency room shouldn't be part of your vacation.