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Before You Go on That Vacation....

I thought I was paranoid about protecting my home from disasters and thieves before leaving on vacation. But it's nice to know there are some people out there who may be significantly more schizophrenic on this topic.

A colleague sent me this primer (PDF) from the Institute for Security and Open Methodologies, which sports a checklist of at least 70 precautions to consider before you pack up the old familywagon for that road trip.

Some of the gems embedded in this tip list include:

If you have an alarm, dog, or a surveillance service then keep it discreet and leave the alarm or warning sign away. Professional thieves don't care about them and you take away the element of surprise (unless it's the bad for you kind of "Hey, surprise, we have a fake sign and no dog or alarm!" as they proceed to break in). Signs only inform a thief to be more cautious.

Don't get me wrong: There is some solid, sound advice in this document. It's just that if you're not up-to-speed on many of these precautions well before you leave, may never leave.

Case, in point, I can just see it now: "Honey, did we remember to do #57?"

If you have a house-sitter or babysitter, remove all phones in your house except the corded, main one in the central house location usable only at a standing location. This way if you need to say something in private to your child on the phone, you can be sure the sitter is not likely listening on another line. Furthermore it will make it more likely the sitter will not have a comfortable location for chatting long periods on the phone.

By Brian Krebs  |  July 24, 2008; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  From the Bunker , Latest Warnings , Safety Tips  
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...or just call your kid on their cell phone.

Posted by: RK | July 24, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure the sitter will have their own cell phone too.

Posted by: BKD | July 24, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

What about e-mail announcements that we are on vacation -- just went to Berlin to listen to Obama, so some English speakers are there who aren't being paid for part-time work for showing up

Posted by: bruce r | July 25, 2008 3:17 AM | Report abuse

Wow. That is really something. That is quite the document!

Posted by: Rick | July 25, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Yeah be sure to leave your driver's license number etched into everything you own, so if you get burglarized and the perp finds a secondary form of ID like a social security card or passport, they can easily social engineer their way to owning a legitimate MVA issued driver's license in your name.

Posted by: Eponymous | July 28, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I have to disagree with you on the posted sign theory....

A survey was recently done by one of the prisons. The group surveyed were specifically house breakers.
Nine out of every ten said they would not break into a house that had an alarm.

(I guess the tenth one haden't passed the first grade).

Posted by: John | July 28, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes, 9 out of 10 will run if an alarm sounds-- not specifically if there is an alarm or dog sign. There are also studies that show if a house is a target then thieves will be more likely to escalate the use of violence when approaching a house with known alarms and dogs. Therefore, your 9 out of 10 who run from alarms will run anyway as will those who are surprised.

Posted by: Darren | August 6, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

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