Ready to head off to tropical paradise Heres a checklist

*Garbage. Never leave your garbage can on the street for more than one night because it signals you're away. Ask a neighbor to take it in.

*Deliveries. Postpone mail and newspaper deliveries or ask a neighbor to collect them.

*Keys. Don't leave out keys, no matter how hidden you think they are.

*Answering machines. Don't advertise you're away by leaving a recording to that effect, and don't leave notes for delivery drivers.

*Alarms. If you own a security system, make sure you have a backup battery in case of a power outage. Also, alert your security company and people on your emergency call list that you'll be out of town.

*Ask neighbors to keep an eye on things.

*Ask police to patrol your street and inspect your property while gone. For a directed patrol, call your zone office.

*Appliances. Unplug appliances, such as TVs and computers, to guard against power surges.

*Lawns. Ask a neighbor or hire a service to mow the lawn and trim the shrubbery if you'll be away more than a week.

— Copley News Service