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14 Ways to Prevent A Home Break-In While You're Away

Summertime often means vacation time! But while you are away, is your house safe and secure from burglary? According to the Insurance Information Institute, there are more than 2.15 million burglaries each year, over 65 percent of which are residential break-ins, with the majority occurring in the peak vacation months of July and August. So how can you make sure your home is protected while you are off enjoying your summertime plans? Here are a few household burglary prevention tips that can help:

  • Don't advertise your plans. Because social media are so widely used these days, we have to mention this first! Never share your vacation plans online. Of course, we would never post, "Rob me please," online, but we have no problem sharing our "countdown to vacation" with everyone. You might not even realize it while you are excitedly telling people about your up-coming plans, but you are advertising to friends, friends of friends and possibly strangers that your home will be unattended. Instead, enjoy sharing all about your vacation when you get home. Don't leave vacation messages on phones or emails. Simply state that you are "away from your desk" for your work email and phone, and leave a typical away message for personal phones or emails. Don't leave messages on your door (like for a delivery person) that you are away from home either.
  • Light it up. Use motion sensor lights on the exterior of your home. Use timers for your interior lights to come on in the evening and shut off during the day. (Simply leaving lots of lights on is not a great idea. It will definitely look strange come midnight, and wastes energy too).
  • Lock it up. Double check that all outside doors and windows are locked when leaving your home. Keep your garage door closed and locked at all times. Lock garden shed doors and store lawn mowers, barbecues, bicycles, etc. out of sight.
  • Trim it up. Trim all bushes and trees around your home to prevent hiding places for intruders.
  • Upgrade security. Install solid, sturdy doors with deadbolts on the exterior of your home, and install quality locks on windows. Thieves are not looking for a challenge. Anything that slows them down,will increase the chances of them giving up.
  • Keep valuables out of sight. Do not keep large amounts of cash, valuables or jewelry lying around the house. Especially within view from the windows.
  • Be extra cautious. Change locks if your keys have been lost or stolen.
  • Hide the view. Use curtains on garage door windows and basement windows.
  • Don't leave keys out. Never hide keys under doormats, flower pots, etc. Burglars know where to look for hidden keys.
  • Get to know your neighbors. Watch out for suspicious people or vehicles at each others homes.
  • ID your things. Engrave all valuables with your driver's license number or other personal id number.
  • Take inventory. Video record or photograph the contents of your home with serial and identification numbers. This also helps in the event of fire. Your insurance company may recommend you record the value, purchase date, serial number, etc. to identify property.
  • Avoid leaving clues to your abscence. Arrange for the Post Office to hold your mail, or for someone to pick up mail and newspapers while you are gone. Have someone mow your lawn while you are away. Leave a car in the driveway.
  • Make breaking into your home noisy. Consider installing an alarm system.