During the summer we are inevitably going to be spending more time with our family and friends and possibly leaving our homes for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, criminals know this and use certain cues to identify their next target. To help keep you and your home safe we have put together a list of things that you can do to prevent tipping off crooks.
- Keep your house looking as if you’re home. Keep a car in your driveway or parking spot. If you’re driving, ask neighbors to park in front of your house.
- Don’t shut all your blinds and drapes. Leave them in their usual position, but make sure nothing valuable can be seen through the windows.
- Set light timers to come on at the normal after-work time.
- Don’t let mail and newspapers pile up outside your door. Communicate to trusted neighbors on when you will be out of town. Ask them to collect newspapers and mail that may gather while you are gone. You can also arrange to have your mail held by filling out an online form at holdmail.usps.com/holdmail.
- Similarly, if you are expecting packages with gifts have them delivered to your place of work and held by your coworkers.
- Don’t change your answering machine message when you are gone. Tell only those who need to know, and those friends and family you trust, that you’re going away. Instruct your kids to do the same.
- While there are no hard statistics (yet), insurance companies warn there is anecdotal evidence suggesting social media sites have become a popular hunting ground for would-be burglars. Be careful what you post and tweet. If you can’t refrain from sharing while vacationing, be careful who sees your posts by checking social media privacy settings.
- Think twice before you check in on a social network. Foursquare and review sites can put your whereabouts into a cyberspace anyone can view. Be sure your check-ins are shared only with a select group of friends.
- Good deadbolt locks are the hardest for burglars to breach. Go through each room before departure and be sure everything is locked. Two home entrances most commonly overlooked when going away are the door leading from the attached garage into your house and any pet door you’ve installed.
- Unplug the power to your automatic garage door to keep thieves from opening it with a universal remote.
- If you have an alarm system, remember to engage it when you leave, and inform the alarm company in advance of the dates you will be away. If no one is expected to be in your house during that period and your alarm goes off, in most cases the company will respond by automatically sending the police.