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How to Keep Your House Secure While on Vacation

Aug 18, 2007
During summer trip season, use these suggestions to protect your property and to make your home appear occupied. These steps can discourage burglars and thieves.

Install quality locks on doors and windows. It is true that an burglar who really wants to get into your house probably can find a way, but most burglaries are opportunistic crimes committed by small time thieves. This means that the more difficult you make it for someone to break into your house, the more likely it is a burglar will not chance the attempt.

Install motion detector lighting and fake security cameras on the outside of your home, or try real closed circuit TV. Use automatic timers on inside lamps and day/night switches on outside lights. A week or two before you go, set your timers so you can establish a routine while you are still home. There are even timers available that will vary the on/off times. Periodically have a radio or TV turned on.

Don't leave valuables where they can be easily observed from the windows. Video cameras, TVs, stereos, gun collections, etc. should be stored in cellars, closets, upstairs, or left with a family or neighbor. Equipping a storage closet with a good deadbolt lock makes a safe storage area too. Leave your curtains in the normal position. Have a friend close them at night and open them in the morning, or use sheers. Sheers help to hide the view into the house without making it obvious, as curtains would, that no one is home.

Put at least two lamps and a radio on automatic timers. Leave the bathroom light on with the door ajar to add to the idea that someone is home. Close and lock your garage doors to prevent someone from breaking in through the garage. Consider putting a lock in the track of overhead garage doors. Remember, attached garages that are not kept locked provide the opportunity for an burglar to enter the garage and work in privacy at breaking into your house, perhaps even with the assistance of your own tools!

Cover your garage windows to prevent anyone from seeing the inside of your garage and see whether your car is at home. Check your homeowner's insurance policy- does it provide robbery coverage while you're staying in hotels and motels? It should. Don't let your travel plans be widely known.

Try to arrange for a house-sitter, but if you can't, give your immediate neighbors a card with your pertinent information. If you are to be gone for an long period, you may want a trusted person to:

-Check the house daily for anything unusual.
-Park in your drive or in front of the house.
-Occasionally place garbage in your garbage can.
-Cut the lawn.
-Pick up your mail and newspapers.
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