Culver City Observer -

Observer Staff Report 

Culver Police Provide Safety Tips As Vacation Season Hits its Peak


There were two burglaries in Culver City this past week, the Culver Police Department reports, adding that homeowners and renters should take extra safety-precautions as the summer vacation-season crests.

Home burglaries, of course, happen all the time. But they often spike upward during the summer, said Culver City Police Lieutenant Troy Dunlap, when thousands of Culver residents leave for an extended vacation while thousands more go on a daylong excursion at the beach or on a bike trail.

Here are some tips that the Culver City Police Department suggests that you follow to make your home safer from burglars while you are away:

• Double- and triple-check all doors and windows before you leave. Don't forget the door leading to the garage, a popular entry-point for bad guys.

• Leave a few curtains and blinds open to give the illusion that someone is around. "Thieves tend to take note of a house that's clearly been closed up," Lt. Dunlap said.

• Have a trusted neighbor collect your mail, newspapers and any delivered packages. If you're going on an extra-long vacation, pay someone to cut your grass and keep your yard tidy.

• Leave a spare key directly with your neighbor rather than under a doormat or faux rock if you'll be gone for more than a few days. It's important to leave a key in case of emergencies, but it's also helpful to have someone check in on your home periodically to ensure that no one has entered in your absence.

• Put timers on lights. Select a few rooms in your house to remain lit to reduce the chances that any thief casing the neighborhood will notice that you've been gone, whether its for a night or two or several weeks. Have outdoor lights, especially around entrances, set to light up every evening.

• Lock your garage door and disconnect the automatic opener if you'll be vacationing for more than a few days. "Garage doors seem like impenetrable forces so, it's easy to overlook additional steps in securing them," Dunlap said. "But if you're going to be gone for a week and won't need the automatic lift anyway, why not disconnect it and add an easy extra layer of security?"

• Leave a radio on and turn down your doorbell. A battery-operated radio is a practical, cheap way to make it sound like someone is around. And since many burglars ring the doorbell or knock to see if anyone's home, turning down the sound of the doorbell combined with a (reasonably) loud radio will make thieves unsure if the house is empty or if the resident simply doesn't hear the door.

• Don't advertise your trip. It's fairly common for people to post all the details of their upcoming vacation on social media, but avoid the urge. The more people who know your house will be empty, the more you open yourself up to the possibility of a break-in. Similarly, adds Dunlap, "don't leave a message on your landline answering machine that you're out of town."

• Consider buying a home-security system, if you don't already have one. Dunlap and other experts say that some of the most valuable features are outdoor motion-detectors; sensors at exterior doors, windows, and the door attached to the garage; an outdoor alarm to alert other neighbors to an intrusion, and security cameras. "Select the features that best fit your needs and be sure to go with a well-known, reputable company," Dunlap advised.


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