Living like a local

The folks at Visit Ukiah recently kick started a new contest as a way to attract visitors to our area. The idea is for locals to share our most favorite things about Ukiah.

Visit Ukiah Administrator Kerry Randall explained the idea, saying, “Everyone wants to live like a local when they visit a new place—they want to find those off-the-beaten-path gems, places to play with their dog, or learn how to experience the perfect Ukiah day.”

The Visit Ukiah contest encourages us to share details about our perfect day in the Ukiah Valley for a chance to win a prize! You can find contest details, see the list of prizes, and enter the contest online at

The idea of visiting Ukiah got me thinking of visiting other places, of getting away this summer, and I realized people might not know how to safeguard their homes and possessions when they leave.

At the Ukiah Police Department (UPD), we are doing our best to reduce burglaries and thefts. This year, we reduced them by 18 percent, but the reality is, they still happen. During the summer, we investigate about 15 burglaries and more than 30 significant thefts each month.

When people are the victims of a burglary, they say it is one of the most intrusive events they have ever experienced. Imagine what it would feel like to have someone you don’t know rummaging through the most private areas of your home: your bedroom or your dresser drawers, for example. That just isn’t right.

To help prevent these crimes, here are some tips to keep your home secure while you’re away:

Social Media

Don’t mention details about your vacation on social networking sites until you return. Telling everyone about your amazing trip at an exotic beach or great camping spot can be fun, but please be cautious. Posting your travel plans is like advertising for professional burglars. They love to know exactly when you will be gone!

Newspapers, Mail and Deliveries

A great indicator to crooks that no one is home is seeing extra newspapers and mail left at a house. Before you leave, stop all mail and newspaper deliveries; or have a trusted neighbor, friend, or relative pick them up on a daily basis. Make sure they also pick up any special deliveries from USPS, FedEx or UPS, and ask them to take trash cans to the curb on trash day.

Look Lived-In

If you can, hire a house sitter or have a friend stop by while you’re away. It’s also helpful to have a neighbor park their car in your driveway, or place a couple house lights on timers so your house looks lived in.  

At a minimum, give a trusted neighbor a way to reach you in case our officers need to reach you. In fact, before you go, call us and let us know when you’ll be gone, how to reach you, and request a vacation home check of your residence.

Lock Up

Sometimes, people forget to lock their doors and windows (including second-story windows). Double check before you leave, and think about placing a bar or pole in window tracks to prevent windows from being forced open. Lock any animal or pet doors, too. Burglars often use these doors to break into residences.  


Finally, if your home is equipped with an alarm system, please use it! Ensure the alarm system is working properly and tell the alarm company your vacation plans. Don’t forget to share the alarm information with someone who can respond to assist us if you’re away. And consider getting exterior motion lights; these lights are a tremendous theft deterrent.

A great vacation includes coming home to a secure house, so before you leave, make sure you take these simple steps.

As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website:

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