The start of summer means it’s time to go on vacation! Whether it’s a weekend trip to the beach, or a month long trip to Europe, vacations can leave your house vulnerable to break-ins. The FBI notes that the summer has the highest rates of burglaries. To try and prevent a burglary or limit the damage if one occurs, use this checklist before you take off.
1st step- Deterring The Burglar
The first line of defense you can have against a burglary starts with making your home appear occupied. If a burglar thinks you’re home, they’ll move on to a home that looks uninhabited. Think Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone- he had the right idea.
Have the lights inside your home on a automatic timer. Rather than keeping your lights on the entire time, which is not environmental, not cost efficient, and does not look normal to have lights on at 3 am, a timer will make it appear as if someone is home turning the lights on and off.
Place your TV or a talk radio on a timer. It will either sound like people are talking, or that someone home is watching the television. Either way, it could be a good deterrence.
Stop your mail and newspaper deliveries so they don’t pile up in front of your house. Or even better, have a friend or trust worthy neighbor grab the mail for you. That way they can check on the house as well.
NEVER post on Facebook or social media that you are traveling. You never know who can see it, and it’s a big welcome sign to burglars that your house is open.
The same rule applies to answering machines. Never say on your phone’s mailbox that you are away on vacation. A simple “we can’t get to the phone right now” is a much safer option. Also, be sure to turn off your phone’s ringer volume too. A phone ringing with no answer could tip off a burglar that no one is home to pick up.
2nd- Make It Hard To Break-in
Research has proven that if it takes more than 4 to 5 minutes to get into your house, burglars will move on. So make it noisy and time consuming.
Bolt up and place a foot jam in all your doors but one.
If you have an alarm system, use it! Besides alerting the police, loud systems will scare away burglars and alert your neighbors of the break in. More secure system can even reduce home insurance policy up to 15-20%.
Have motion sensor lights around your home that are not accessible without a ladder. Burglars will usually not use ladders as they are too conspicuous.
If you have any spare keys around your house, bring them in. That fake rock isn’t fooling anyone.
Secure all windows, your garage, and even your tool shed- you don’t want to provide the burglar with the tools to be able to break in. Lock all your windows and place stoppers with your sliding doors.
3rd- Protect As Much As Possible
If a burglar finds a way to break-in, protect as much as possible. The average dollar loss per burglary is over $1,700. You can minimize that amount with these tips.
Hide/ lock up expensive jewelry in a safe. If possible, the safest option would be to keep expensive jewelry in a bank lock box.
Hide/ lock up laptops, tablets, or any small electronics you can.
If you have any closest that locks, place expensive items in there and take the key with you.
Most filing cabinets come with a lock and key. Be sure to lock important documents before you go and bring that key with you
For larger computers, be sure to disconnect from the internet and make personal info saved on the computer is difficult to access- you wouldn’t want the burglars to hack your accounts as well.
Enjoy your vacation this summer! We hope these to-dos keep your home safe while you’re away. Of course, if a burglary does happen, your MassDrive agent and homeowner’s policy are here to help! Contact us at 1-877-245-9603 for any questions or concerns you may have.
Home invasion is a very real danger and can put both your home and family at risk. There are certain things burglars look for when choosing a house to break in to, but luckily there are precautions that you can take to deter burglars from targeting your home.
Invest in an alarm system. They can monitor your home 24/7 and there’s no better feeling than knowing you and your family are safe. At the very least find an alarm company sign to put up on your lawn, even if you do not have an actual alarm system, the sign may be enough to ward off any potential burglars and convince them that your home is not an easy target.
Lock all doors and windows. This should go without saying, but people leave doors and windows unlocked all the time because they think they live in a safe neighborhood. Regardless of how safe your neighborhood may be, you still need to lock your doors and windows every night and whenever you leave the house. Leaving them unlocked makes your home a very easy target, if thieves try to break in and your doors are locked, they’re most likely going to move on.
Use light sensors. These are a huge deterrent for burglars because they don’t want to have a light shining down on them and risk being seen. Having light sensors at all doors and even along walkways is a great defense against these prowlers.
Secure your garage. Garage doors without windows are ideal, but if you have a garage with windows, make sure they are covered with newspaper. You don’t want burglars to be able to tell whether you’re home or not or see any valuables you may have inside.
Keep valuables out of sight. Having valuables outside such as bikes, or expensive items such as a big screen TV or expensive computer visible through the window makes your home a target. Take all toys inside or put them in the garage, and consider rearranging expensive items so they are not visible through the windows, or at least make sure the blinds are drawn.
Make it seem like you’re home. Did you know that break-ins are most common during the day when people are at work? Leave on a light or two and maybe even the TV so it appears as if someone is home even if you’re not.
Don’t leave a spare key outside. Burglars know typical hiding spots such as under the mat or under a flower pot, and even if you think you’ve put the key in a secure spot, burglars often case areas they are interested in and may see you retrieve it. Your best bet is to give a spare key to a trusted neighbor or friend who lives near by.
Trim trees and shrubs. Tall trees or thick shrubs are perfect spots for burglars to hide without being seen. Keep them trimmed so that it’s not easy for them to hide behind, and try to leave walkways and driveways free of shrubs and trees so that they are completely visible and you can see anyone who approaches.
Get to know your neighbors. If you’re friendly with your neighbors, they may be more likely to notice any unfamiliar visitors outside. Strangers will stick out to them and if they notice anything suspicious, they can alert you or the police.
These tips can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your home. These easy adjustments can save you a lot of potential trouble and will set your mind at ease so keep them in mind and stay alert!
Going away on vacation? You probably just want to focus on all of the fun and relaxation you’ll be doing, but it’s important to take certain precautions before you leave, especially when it comes to your home. If burglars realize that your house is going to be empty for a few days, this can make it a target. You wouldn’t want to come home from a spectacular vacation only to find your home ransacked and your belongings missing. Follow these tips to protect your home if you plan on being away for a few days.
Do not post on social media that you will be traveling. This is a very easy way to make your home a target, as you never know who may see this post. Friends of friends may have access to your posts depending on your privacy settings and it makes it known that your home will be unoccupied for a significant amount of time.
Make sure all doors and windows are locked. If you leave any openings unlocked, you’re making it easy for burglars to enter your home. Thieves are more likely to find another target if your doors and windows are locked.
Set your lights on a timer so that they go on and off throughout the day and night, making it look like someone is home. You should also make sure you have outdoor lights on a timer as well so that your yard is well-lit at night. If your yard is well-lit at night, it makes it more risky to break in because there is a greater chance of being seen, especially if you live on a busy street with a lot of cars driving by.
Tell neighbors you will be away. That way they can keep an eye out for any suspicious activity or strangers going on to the property.
Ask a neighbor or friend to pick up your mail and newspapers so that it looks like someone is coming and going. If newspapers and mail pile up outside, it makes it obvious that no one has been home for a while, making your home a target.
Leave a car parked in the driveway. If you are not able to do this, ask a friend or neighbor to park their car in your driveway every so often, making it appear as though someone is inside.
Make sure all valuables are not in sight. If a burglar were to peek in your windows and not see anything of value, they will be more likely to move on.
If you plan on being away for a long period of time, hire someone to mow your lawn and keep up with your yard.
If you do not have an alarm system, consider investing in o y. At the very least find an alarm company sign to put up outside, even if you don’t have a security system, the sign may be enough of a deterrent to convince burglars to move one.
If you have any keys hidden on your property, do not leave them out while you are away.
Store jewelry or other small valuables in a safe hiding place while you are gone. A security deposit box is a great option if possible.
Make sure to keep a list of all valuables and other important information such as serial numbers. This information will be useful in the event that you are the victim of a robbery and will also be useful in the recovery of stolen items.
If you take these precautions before going on vacation, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your time away knowing that your home, and your valuables are protected.