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Vacation Watch

Whether you’re going on vacation, traveling for business, or have been unexpectedly called away, the Johnston Police Department recommends that you take the time to follow these VACATION WATCH TIPS anytime you are going to be away from your home for an extended period of time.

  • Arrange for a trusted neighbor, friend, or relative to watch your house while you are away.  Let them know where you are going and how you can be reached in case of an emergency.
  • Don’t allow mail, newspapers, fliers or deliveries to pile up or remain outside your home.  Arrange to have packages delivered to a friend or neighbor, stop the newspaper, ask the post office to hold your mail, or ask someone you trust to collect these items daily and hold them for you until you return.
  • Arrange to have someone place your garbage and recycling bins at the curb on your normal pickup day(s) and then return the bins after pickup has been made.
  • Arrange to have someone care for your lawn during the seasonal months and clear you’re your sidewalk, driveway, and walkway during the winter.
  • Keep the trees, plants and shrubbery around your home trimmed to reduce or eliminate shadows and hiding places.
  • Have outside lighting set to turn on at dusk and off at dawn.  Place some of your inside lighting on timers that are set turn on/off at random times during the night.

  • Limit the number of people who know you’re going to be gone.  Don’t post or share your plans on social media sites or announce your absence on your answering machine. 

  • Turn down the volume control on your telephone ringer and answering machine so they cannot be heard from the outside.

  • Ensure that all of the windows and doors on the outside of your home and garage are locked and secured.  Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots or other “secret” hiding places where they could potentially be found and used to gain entry into your home.

  • Allow neighbors to use and park in your driveway while you’re away.  If you plan to leave a vehicle parked in your driveway, have someone move it occasionally.

  • If you have a security alarm system, turn it on.  Ensure that it is working properly and that the monitoring service has an accurate and up-to-date activation contact list.

  • Notify the Police Department of your plans and submit a Vacation Watch request so they can help keep an eye on your home while you are away.

  • Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, serial numbers, and value.  Make sure you update it regularly to ensure the information is current and accurate.

  • Form a Neighborhood Watch group.  Make it a practice to watch out for each other and to call the Police Department at 515.278.2345 if you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood.