NEWS & SCHMOOZE: Tips for safe holiday travel

The “Home Alone” house in Winnetka.

School’s almost out for winter break and the time has come for many to dig out their suitcases and pack for a fun filled family adventure!

Whether you are traveling near or far, it’s important to remember some tips to keep your house and belongings safe while you are away.

Here are some wise words, courtesy of Buffalo Grove police Cmdr. Jim Newton and from the website

• Do everything you can to make sure that it looks like someone is still home. If there is snow on the ground, arrange to have someone shovel the sidewalks and driveway

• Ask a neighbor, family member or friend to check on the house periodically.

• Use outdoor light motion sensors and light timers inside the house that are set to work on a varied time schedule. If you are gone for a long time, criminals tend to pay attention to see whether the lights are going on and off at the exact same time every day.

• Don’t broadcast that you’re away on social media, like Twitter or Facebook, and try not to tell a lot of people that you are going out of town. Also, resist posting photos of your vacation until you’re safely back home.

• If you are leaving for more than a couple of days, it is a good idea to stop your mail and newspaper service.

• Prevent damage if there is a power surge by unplugging your computers, televisions or stereos if they are not attached to a good surge protector.

• Make sure all windows and doors in the house and garage are locked and secured.

• Don’t leave any spare keys lying around outside of the house.

• Turn down the thermostat and hot water heater.

• Never leave anything of value in plain sight. Place jewelry, extra cash and valuables in a safe deposit box or a secure hidden safe in the house.

• Contact the police department if you would like a vacation watch placed on your house. If you live in Buffalo Grove, download a form from the village website at

• Above all, relax and enjoy yourself!


In other neighborhood news, now that winter is here, it’s time to think about ... baseball!

That’s right, registration for the 2014 BGRA baseball season has begun. Those who would like to beat the price increase for next season need to register before Dec. 31. Registration forms are available at

All T-Ball through colt registrations will include 15 raffle tickets and a free online discount card, so you can win great prizes while supporting BGRA!

Continental Restaurant, which is an active supporter of BGRA, will be donating 10 percent of your bill every time you eat there to the organization. Just tell the cashier you are supporting BGRA when you pay.

That’s all for 2013! Here’s wishing you a happy holiday season and a happy and healthy 2014!

Please keep in touch and send neighborhood news to Aileen Simons at

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