For safety as well as aesthetics, garage doors should only be left open on a limited basis.
- Don't give burglars, muggers or pickpockets a chance to do their dirty work. Keep these tips in mind for safety.
- If you are Traveling..... Set an automatic timer for your lights and a TV or Stereo. Ask your neighbor to watch your home, pick up newspapers, collect mail, and park in the driveway from time to time. Be sure to hide any gifts that may be left in the house while you are gone.
- If you are Out for the Evening.... Turn on lights, a radio or TV so it appears someone is home or leave them on an automatic timer. Lock all doors and windows while you are out, even if you'll be gone for just a few minutes. Do not place packages or gifts near windows or other high visibility sites.
- If you are Shopping..... Don't let your guard down because you are rushing. Stay alert and be aware of everything around you at all times. Park in well lighted spaces and as close to the store as possible, lock your car door, and hide packages in the trunk or under the seats. Do not carry large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card if possible. Make sure you do not carry all your packages at the same time. Carry your purse close to your body or use a fanny pack. Put your wallet in an inside pocket. If you take your children shopping, teach them to go to a police officer or a store security guard if they get separated or lost.
- If a Stranger Comes to the Door.... Stay alert to suspicious looking couriers delivering packages to you or your neighbors. Many con artists take advantage of holiday generosity by going door to door. Ask for identification and get specifics to how and where the donations will be spent/used. If you feel uncomfortable, just say "no thank you" and shut the door.
- If You are at Home.... Turn on outside lights to deter burglars. Report any suspicious behavior to the police and your local neighborhood watch block captain.
Protection Against Rodent Infestation
Look for rodent droppings, torn paper or fluff in corners of drawers or beneath stored mattresses or boxes. Rodent droppings look like tiny raisins or extra large apple seeds. They can be brown or black and often have a sweet sickening scent from being mixed with rodent urine. Rodent droppings are unsightly, smelly and cause disease.
Clean the house, attic, basement, garage, sheds and any rubbish piles. Be sure to wear rubber gloves and use a respirator in the attic or garage. Remove any stored mattresses, furniture, cardboard boxes, wallpaper sample rolls, pet foods stored in paper or plastic bags and any other item that can be chewed or used as nesting material or food. Bag everything and place bags in a metal or plastic garbage can with a tight fitting lid.
Seal up any holes with caulk, wood putty or screening. Rats can get inside through a hole the size of a fifty cent piece, and mice can use a hole the size of a nickel. Cap any open sewer lines, gas lines, or water lines coming into the house. Clean all gutters and downspouts regularly to prevent mice and rats from nesting in them. Keep doors closed and be sure that screens on windows are intact. Fix them if needed, or replace them.