You booked your plane ticket.
The car carrier is coming to pick up your vehicle.
Now the only thing left to do before heading north is attend as many “goodbye snowbirds” parties as you can squeeze into the next couple of weeks, right?
There are several steps you should take to secure your property before leaving town this summer.
According to Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cumming, the most important thing residents can do to protect their homes is to notify police and trusted neighbors they’ll be gone.
When a resident tells police of an extended absence, a police officer will check out the area to become familiar with how it should look. That makes police aware of vehicles that aren’t normally in the area or anything out of place on a property.
“It could be something that’s very subtle, like something that looks like it’s been moved,” Cumming said. “It tells us that someone’s been there.”
Vacant-house reports are available on the FAQ section of the town’s website, longboatkey.org. The form allows residents to put contact information and the dates they’ll be away, along with the name of their yardman, maid and pool service company, vehicles in the driveway and timed lighting that can help police monitor the home.
Longboat Key Fire Rescue Chief Paul Dezzi recommends residents update their contact information before leaving town and make sure a neighbor has a key to the home.
Dezzi suggests residents have their water turned off before leaving for an extended period, because a pinhole leak could cause a home to flood.
Residents should also put newspaper subscriptions on hold, because the accumulation of weeks’ worth of papers could alert a thief that a resident is out of town — not to mention annoy neighbors.
And, if you’re staying in town, be a good neighbor. Keep an eye on your neighbors’ properties, especially if you know they’re gone, and call police to report suspicious activity.
Before leaving town:
• Notify police and trusted neighbors before leaving for an extended period, and make sure your contact information is up-to-date. Vacant-house reports are available in the FAQ section of the town’s website, longboatkey.org.
• Put newspaper subscriptions on hold.
• Consider installing light timers.
• Check locks and alarms to ensure they’re working properly.
• Turn off water and water heaters.
• Unplug your garage door opener.