The kids are out of school and my family and I will be going away on vacation for a few weeks. Do you have any tips that will help keep potential burglars away while we’re gone?


Light, time and noise are a homeowner’s greatest weapons in the fight to prevent a home burglary according to the Insurance Information Institute. To keep potential burglars away from your home, the Brockton Police Department would like to once again offer these simple tips to follow before you go on vacation:

  • Examine your house from the street and make sure no valuables, like expensive electronics or artwork, are visible from the street. If a passerby can see your belongings, so can criminals.

  • Make sure to lock and fasten all doors and windows.

  • Secure sliding glass doors. Place a metal rod or piece of plywood in the track to prevent an intruder from forcing the door open.

  • Always lock the door to your attached garage.

  • Make it appear that you’re home. Use timers on lights, radios, and televisions. Turn lights on and off at certain times, altering lighting patterns, to create an occupied look.

  • Keep the perimeter of your home well lighted. You can do this by installing low-voltage outdoor lighting.

  • Never leave clues that you are away. Ask a neighbor to collect your mail and newspapers or ask for them to be held.

  • Never leave a message on your answering machine saying you are on vacation.

  • Trim the shrubbery near your home’s entrance and walkway. This prevents a would-be burglar from hiding in tall, bushy foliage.

  • If you have a home security system, make sure it is activated when you leave. The more difficult you make it for the intruder; the less likely he or she will be to pursue forcing their way into your home.

  • Get a trusted friend or relative to “house sit” or make sure your neighbors know your plans.

  • Leave a car parked in the driveway, or ask a neighbor to park in your driveway.

  • Leave a house key and a number where you can be reached with a trusted friend or neighbor.

  • Leave drapes and shades open as normal. (Closed blinds during the day are a sure sign of an empty house, and they allow a burglar to attend to his business unseen by neighbors.)

  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed if you’re going to be away for more than a week.

  • Replace any burned-out lights in your yard. Consider upgrading outdoor light fixtures with devices that have built-in motion detectors which turn on the lights whenever anyone walks past.

  • Know your valuables. It’s always a good idea to know what items of value you have in the house. Take detailed photographs of your valuables or better yet, take a video of your possessions to include jewelry, electronics, rare coins, antiques, etc. Be sure to capture distinguishing features on these items including serial and model numbers if applicable. With today’s cell phone photo and video capabilities, it’s easier than ever to inventory your possessions. Just be sure to keep the video in a safe place and not on the phone.

  • DON’T ADVERTISE that you are going to be away from home on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site. Wait until you return home from vacation to post your photos on these sites.

If you plan on being away for more than a few days, please stop by the Brockton Police Department to request checks of your house while you are on vacation. We will need your name, address, date of departure and return, emergency contact numbers and any special conditions or circumstances we should be aware of while you are away.

Anyone with questions for the Chief’s Column may submit them by mail to the Brockton Police Department, 7 Commercial St, Brockton, MA 02302. You may also email your questions or comments to Please include an appropriate subject line, as I do not open suspicious email for obvious reasons.

Brenda I. Pérez

Chief of Police