There are two places you should pay attention to when you leave for vacation. One is inside your home. The other is outside your home. Summer is the prime time to get away, and unfortunately, it’s also the prime time for burglaries. July and August are the months with the highest number of break-ins in the United States. Taking a few specific precautions will keep your home from becoming a target.
Before you pack up the car and head on your next adventure, follow these tips from All-Weather Window, Doors & Siding to ensure that your home remains safe and sound while you’re away.
Security Tips for Inside Your Home
There are plenty of precautions you can take inside your home to deter burglars and reduce loss. Here are some that you may have heard and some you may not have:
Lock the Doors & Windows
Believe it or not, according to the FBI’s crime reports, 30 percent of home intruders enter through an unlocked door or window! Checking your home for unlocked doors and windows is crucial before leaving for an extended period of time. Don’t assume they are locked until you’ve checked them all.
Related Read: Security 101: The Safest Locks for Your Home
Install a Jamb Brace
Another security measure you can take for your doors is installing a device called a Jamb Brace door reinforcer. It keeps thieves from being able to kick in your doors to gain entry (something that usually only takes a few seconds with most wooden door jambs. You can read more about it here:
Put Lights and TVs on Timers
Burglars look for vacant homes, not occupied homes. Create the illusion that someone is home by setting light timers throughout your home. Most TVs can also be set on a timer to turn on and off throughout the day.
Lock Up Your Valuables
If a burglar did gain access to your home, don’t make it easy to find your valuables. If you are planning to leave behind cash, jewelry, or small electronics, hide them in a safe spot. An even safer option is to lock these in a safe. There are all types of safes on the market that are both affordable and secure and they come in many different sizes.
However, remember that safes are a big target for burglars. If it’s possible to lift your safe, it’s possible for burglars to take it with them. Even if your safe can’t easily be moved, with an empty house to themselves they’ll have all the time in the world to try cracking your code (or the door). In both cases, make sure when you place or install your safe, make sure to have it out of sight and somewhere clever.
Security Tips for Outside Your Home
Do everything you can to create the illusion that your home is not empty. Try these tips next time you head out of town:
Leave a Car Parked in the Driveway
It’s smart to leave one car in the driveway while you’re gone. Most people assume this would be burglar bait, but leaving a car in the driveway can actually stop burglars from approaching your home altogether because it creates the illusion that someone is home.
Stop Mail & Newspaper
Nothing says “we aren’t home” more than a pile of old newspapers at the end of your driveway. Make sure to have your mail held at the post office, and stop daily newspaper services. Additionally, if you have a package that is set to arrive while you are away, make sure to have a trusted neighbor retrieve it once it’s arrived.
Hide the Hide-a-Key!
Since this key is usually for emergencies, many homeowners often forget about their hide-a-key unless they need to use it. Burglars know to look for a key under a mat, flower pot, or rock near the front door. Make sure to give this hide-a-key to a neighbor, or store it safely in your home until you return.
Maintain Your Lawn
A jungle growing in the front yard may be a welcome sign for potential burglars. Keep your lawn trimmed and maintained while you’re away to avoid tipping off any burglars that you’re not home. If you’ll be gone for a long period of time, be sure to ask a neighbor or hire a lawn care company to keep it maintained for you.
Show Off The Security
It pays to advertise your security system. If you have a security system, make it obvious to would-be intruders. In a study done by UNC Charlotte, 60 percent of convicted burglary offenders said the presence of an alarm system would cause them to seek an alternative target altogether. Whether it’s a small yard sign, or a sticker on your entry door window, burglars will see that you are protected and may choose to go another route.
If you have an alarm system, give your alarm company a call and tell let them know when you’ll be out of town, and if anyone plans to come to your home while you’re away.
Keep Your Vacation on the Down Low
Be careful who you let know about your getaway. It’s good that some people know, but bad that others know.
Let a Neighbor Know
Instead of alerting the whole neighborhood on social media, give a trusted neighbor a call and let them know you’ll be gone. Kindly ask them to keep an eye on your home, and to report an suspicious activity. If you are close enough with the neighbor, give them a spare key and have them check on your home once a day to make sure everything is as it should be.
Be Aware of What You Share
Vacations are hard-earned and well worth sharing, but remember to save the social posts for after you’ve returned. While social media has become a useful resource, it has also caused people to overshare. Never announce your departure on public social media sites, or even private for that matter. It may be a struggle, but try posting the family beach photos when you return home from your trip to avoid unwanted intruders while you’re away.