Summer months, when people typically take trips out of town, spawn the most burglaries and household property crimes according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Nobody wants to come home after an enjoyable escape to find their home ransacked and valuables missing. By taking some precautions, you can avoid becoming a victim of intruders or thieves and return home to the same comfortable living conditions you left.
Here are some tips on how to deter break-ins:
1. Put Your Lights on Timers
When different lamps and overhead lights come on at different times, criminals tend to think someone is home.
2. Install an Alarm System
If you don’t already have one, now is the time to secure your home with an alarm. The Insurance Information Institute says you’ll probably get a discount on your homeowners insurance if you do.
3. Invest in Deadbolt Locks
Can’t invest in an alarm right now? Then, at least place deadbolts on your doors and windows, making it more difficult for criminals to get inside your home. Or double your protection and use both an alarm and deadbolts.
4. Set Up a Webcam
Surveillance cameras can be costly, but you can use your webcam for the same purpose at a fraction of the cost.
5. Stop Your Mail
Nothing shouts you’re “not home” like bills, ads and other envelopes piling up in your mailbox. Make sure and stop delivery arrangements online with the U.S. Post Office. Or have a friend or neighbor pick up your mail everyday.
6. Suspend Newspaper Delivery
You don’t want old newspapers scattered on your front porch either, so call the newspaper and arrange to put delivery on hold for the length of your vacation.
7. Keep Quiet on Social Media
Don’t share any details on how long you’ll be gone or where you’re going on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site. You never know who might have access to your vacation plan posts.
8. Unplug Electronics
This way burglars can’t get a hold of your personal financial information on your computer.This will also save on your electric bill. If you’re using a webcam, you’ll need to keep that computer on.
9. Turn off Automatic Garage Doors
Intruders have been known to use a universal remote to gain entry into homes through the garage, so shut it down before you leave.
10. Remove Portable GPS from Your Vehicle
If you’re flying to your destination and leaving your car at the airport or in nearby airport parking, thieves can steal your car and head right to your home.
11. Make Your Home Look Lived In
Do what you normally do while at home. If you have the blinds open during the day, don’t close them while on vacation. Have your lawn mowed if you’re going to be gone for a significant amount of time. Also, park a car in your driveway so it looks as if someone is home.
12. Get Rid of the Hidden House Key
Intruders know all the usual hiding places for extra keys, so unless you have a brilliant no one has ever thought of, don’t bother to conceal one outside at all.
13. Assess Your Yard
Walk around your front and back yards to see if someone could easily be concealed in your shrubbery or bushes. If so, cut them back.
14. Turn Off Alarm Clocks
You don’t want someone to hear the endless beeping of your alarm, making them realize nobody is inside to turn it off.
15. Lock Up
Before you drive away, be sure you’ve checked all the locks and armed your alarm.