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It’s time for summer and that means students are graduating, school is letting out and it’s vacation season.

Whether you are leaving town for a day at the beach, or a week-long vacation, it’s important to keep your homes secure and protected.

Here are several tips from New Jersey State Police and local law enforcement departments to keep your summer as safe.

Protecting personal property:

When traveling, vacationing or leaving home, remember to lock the windows and doors. Don’t forget to set the alarm and place signs in plain sight to deter unwanted visitors, as well as “beware of dog” signs or other warnings.

“If you are away from your home for an extended period of time and have an extra vehicle, it’s not bad to leave that vehicle in sight from the roadway. This will also serve as a deterrent,” New Jersey State Police Woodstown Barracks Assistant Station Commander Christopher Quirk said.

State police also encourage residents to secure any property outdoors, like patio furniture, bikes, or other belongings with locks and cans, or store it in a shed or barn.

Regarding firearms or other dangerous valuables, police encourage owners to take photos of those items and record all serial numbers, keep them locked and in a safe place within the home.

Secure valuables and vehicles:

Always lock the doors to vehicles.

“When we have burglaries from a vehicle, it usually occurs in strings of several vehicles at a time and almost always due to them being left unlocked,” Quirk said.

“If you don’t want to lock your vehicle, make sure you do not leave your valuables in the vehicle. No matter what, never leave your keys in the vehicle,” Quirk continued.

Harrison Township Police Chief Tom Mills also encouraged residents to pay attention to solicitors.

Recently, the township has seen a lot of people soliciting without a permit, according to the chief, and residents are encouraged to contact authorities if they see anything suspicious.

If you don’t have an alarm system or surveillance security, authorities suggest investing in one to further protect your home.

“Most of the alarm companies offer a complete system install for  minimal money with a limited commitment to a call center. Those systems are wireless, so the install is very non-invasive,” Quirk said.

Look out for your neighbors and report any crime:

No crime is too small to note or report.

New Jersey State Police also expressed the importance of keeping an eye out for soliciting by noting what they are wearing, what type of vehicle they are driving, a tag number if possible, and then don’t hesitate to report it.

Contact local police departments if there is any unwanted or non-permitted solicitors, according to Carneys Point Police Det. Sgt. Dale VanNamee.

“If a crime occurs at your residence, no matter how small, if you do not report the incident to the police, we cannot catch the suspects committing the crimes,” VanNamee said.

“This has become a common occurrence. After investigating crimes in the past, it has been discovered that the activity reported has been going on for some time and no one reported it to the police,” the Carneys Point detective sergeant said.

Keep a lookout for other suspicious activity at your neighbor’s homes and contact police in your town if something does not look right.

And if you’re going on vacation, be sure to alert someone trustworthy so they can keep an eye on your home while you are away, authorities said.

Enforce curfew for minors and keep children safe:

It is unlawful for any minor under 17 years old to be unaccompanied by an adult to wander, stroll, play, loiter or idle in public streets, highways, roads, alleys, parks and playgrounds, according to VanNamee.

Authorities also said to pay attention to children around bodies of water, including pools, buckets, to ensure their safety and prevent drowning.

For more information on how to keep safe this summer, or for any concerns, contact your local police department.

Brittany Wehner may be reached at bwehner@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @brittanymwehner. Find her on Facebook.

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