Question and answer section
Home Security Tips for Vacation Time (or Anytime)
Summer is the biggest season for burglaries; homeowners tend to leave windows and patio doors open, and families are likely to go away on vacation. In more than 40 percent of break-ins, thieves simply enter through an unlocked door or window. The odds of being burglarized a second time are higher because the thief will assume that what was stolen has been replaced. Thieves are likely remember places that were easy targets to possibly hit again.
Burglars generally avoid delays, noise, or other attention-getting risks. Alarms, however, are only one part of an effective home-security plan—most alarms sound only after someone has entered the home. The following security measures can help give you peace of mind while you are traveling to ensure that you enjoy your holiday:
- Properly illuminate porches, entrance areas, and front and back yards.
- Trim shrubbery that hides doors or windows to lower than eye level.
- Place a metal bar or wooden rod in the track of sliding doors. Install a pin to prevent the door from being lifted off the track.
- When working or entertaining in the yard, only open doors or windows within your view.
- Don’t leave a ladder in the yard that a burglar can use to enter an open second-story window.
- Install dead bolt locks on your doors. Make sure they have at least a 1-inch draw into the doorjamb.
- Close and lock basement and main-level windows and doors prior to retiring at night.
- If you have electrically-operated garage doors, either disconnect or bolt the doors before you leave for extended periods. Always lock the door to an attached garage. Don’t rely on your automatic garage-door opener for security.
- Never leave clues, such as a pile of newspapers or accumulating mail, that indicate you are away on a trip. If you don’t have a trusted friend or neighbor to bring these in daily, be sure to put a hold on delivery.
- When you travel, set timers to turn lights on and off at different times in various areas of the home.
- Consider having someone house-sit for you so that there is visible activity in your home.
- Don’t leave outgoing messages on an answering machine or voicemail stating you’ll be away for a while and will return calls when you return.
- Refrain from posting on social media sites that you are going on vacation. It gives robbers an opportunity to invade your home. They even have a perfect “I’m looking after the house while so-and-so is gone” story to tell the neighbors if they are approached. Wait until you get back to post your pictures and let the world know that you were partying in Paris or visiting Aunt Alma in Austin. Even posts such as “Looking forward to a night on the town!” could be an invite for trouble.
- If you will be gone for an extended period of time, be sure to have someone water those plants that are visible from the street. Neglected plants shout, “No one is home!”
Protect your home and enjoy your summer holiday!
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