Summer is upon us, and ‘tis the season for weekend getaways and family vacations.
So, it’s no surprise the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics says this is peak season for household burglaries.
While you can’t control what happens while you are away, there are some surefire steps you can take to make your happy home a harder target for thieves.
1. Step Up Your Security – While you may have the standard alarm system and motion-activated lights outside, there are some added measures you should consider. Think about your windows and doors. If you have double-hung windows, you can add sash pins. For your doors, consider installing heavy-duty lock strike plates. This will make entry much harder for would-be burglars.
2. Keep Your Home Looking Lived In – An unkempt lawn may just be an eyesore to you, but it’s a clue to burglars that someone may be on vacation. Before you leave for your trip, make sure to mow or (even better) hire someone to keep it up while you’re gone so your house gives the appearance that someone’s home.
3. Secure Your Windows – When you’re away on a trip, make sure that you unplug any extension cords that you have running through your windows (think string lights for your patio) and that the windows are closed and latched.
4. Be Leary of Door-to-Door Solicitations – It’s unfortunate, but an increasingly common way for ne’er-do-wells to scope your house and belongings is to pose as a donation rep for a charity. If you get a knock at your door from someone you don’t recognize, don’t open it, or ask for an ID from the charity and don’t let them inside.
5. Be Tech Savvy – Try using home automation devices, like Wi-Fi-enabled security systems, plug-in devices that let you turn lights on and off remotely with your cell phone or devices that mimic the flickering of a TV. These clever tools make it look like someone’s home while you’re away.
6. Keep Valuables Out of Sight – Before you leave for any trip, be mindful of what you’re leaving out around the house. Keep laptops, jewelry, and all other valuables out of sight, preferably stashed somewhere unobvious.
7. Keep a Record of Valuables – For insurance purposes, it’s always a good idea to have pictures of your belongings, particularly high-ticket items like TV’s and computers. Make sure you also keep a list of serial numbers. If the worst does happen, you’ll have a record of what was stolen and details to give to the police.
8. Keep Packing Out of Sight – Be smart about where you load up your car before heading out of town. If possible, pack the car in the garage.
9. Keep Boxes Off the Curb – Bought new gear to take along on your getaway? Don’t put the boxes at the curb for everyone to see; break the boxes down and leave them in your recycling or trash bin.
10. Keep Your Travel Plans Off Social Media – We all want to share our travel excitement with friends and family, but Facebook and Instagram aren’t the smartest places to do so. Your Facebook profile may not be as private as you think, and the risk just isn’t worth it, so wait and post travel pictures when you get home.