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Neighborhood Watch

How to Have a Happy and Safe Vacation

            Going on vacation? If so, don’t make your home an easy target for burglars/vandals while you are away. According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the best way to accomplish this is to make it appear as though you are home. Start by making a check list of the suggestions in this article.

Give a trusted neighbor the dates you will be away, a phone number to call in an emergency, and a list of who will be stopping by your house (lawn service, cleaning service, etc.), while you are gone. If you like, you can call the OCSO at 407-254-1001, and request to have deputies perform house checks. If you have a security system, whether it is monitored or not, arm it when you leave.

Rather than stopping mail and newspaper delivery, ask your neighbor to pick them up for you, as well as to pick up any flyers left on your front door or in your driveway. Arrange to have someone mow your lawn. Add a timer or a photo cell to one or more outside lights, so they will turn on and off automatically.

You should already be using inside lamp timers. If you aren’t, then buy several at a hardware store and put them on lamps located at each end and in the middle of your house. You can also put a timer on a radio and tune it to a talk station. If you have window blinds, tilt them so people can’t see inside your house, but the glow of  inside lights can be seen from outside at night. Turn loud telephone ringers down or off.

Store easily moved lawn equipment, bicycles, lawn ornaments and furniture you normally put inside at night or during a storm. If you are going to miss more than one garbage pickup, ask your neighbor to put a trash bag or can in front of your house on at least one pickup day. Pack your car inside your garage, if possible, and leave without calling attention to what you are doing. Make sure all of your windows and doors are locked when you leave.

It doesn’t take much effort to protect your home while you are away. If you use common sense, you can enjoy your vacation instead of dealing with an unpleasant aftermath. So make your list, check it twice, and have a wonderful time!


File a police report online here!

Please contact Shari Mangas if you would like to be notified of any Neighborhood Watch issues, or if there are issues that she should be made aware of.  Her email address is

Please be aware that there are Bears in the neighborhood on a regular basis.  Please secure your trash inside and do not leave dog or cat food outside at night.