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While You Are Gone

Bags packed? Check! Plane tickets? Check! Toothbrush? Check! Home secured? …

No one wants to come back from an out of town trip and find that they are the victim of of robbery or other crime. Before you get in the car to leave, consider some of these easy steps to keep your home safe and secured while you are relaxing on the beach.

Put your inside lights on a timer.

m001535025_sc7Put some of your lights on timers that can turn on and off throughout the evening. Ideally, the lights’ light should be visible from outside windows.
Timer Switches can be purchased from most major retailers and start at a very low cost (for timers that are mechanically set) to very expensive (for timers that can be controlled via a smartphone). This timer can be purchased from Staples and will turn lights on and off randomly throughout the day.

Leave a vehicle in the driveway

aluminumcarportLeading researchers in the field of home security say that leaving a vehicle in the driveway, as opposed to leaving it in the garage, can help to repel burglars. Of course, this is only possible if you have more than one vehicle and have a garage that you would otherwise be parking in.

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Secure all the windows in your home.

windowsThe front windows, side windows, back windows, windows on the second floor.. all of them should be properly secured. If you live in a neighborhood, a thief is less likely to break a glass window and alarm your neighbors to what they are doing. Take the 5 minutes to double check those windows.

Lock it up. Deadbolt the doors and use a bar in the patio door.

We’re not going to talk much about deadbolts. If you have them, use them. Burglars love patio doors. They are often weakly hinged, have tiny locks, and are out of sight from the main road. You could always bulk up your hinges and lock, but that’s for another day. Today, we want to secure your house the way it is. The simplest and most effective way to secure a patio door is a wooden dowel like the one pictured here. They are widely available at lumber stores and craft stores. Drop this into the door tract and then even if the lock gets compromised, the door will not open.36bd3153-7a35-4030-9609-0580a56cd7ba_1000

Keep the outside of your home well lit with security lights.

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A well lit house is hard to burglarize. Porch lights help. Flood lights are even better. The key here is to light up the areas of the house that are¬†your typical entry ways. *Take care when aiming your lights. You don’t want to light up the inside of your neighbors house every time your outside lights kick on.

Keep it to yourself. Don’t announce your out of town plans all over Facebook.

social-iconsYou’re so excited about going on vacation and feeling that hot sand between your toes. So excited you want to share your joy with others. STOP! Wait until you get back from vacation. Do NOT announce to your 700 “friends” on FaceBook that you are going to be gone for the next 7 days on vacation. According to the London Metro Police, 75% of known burglars site FaceBook as a resource for target selection.

Reverse Stalking is when you try to determine your address and belongings based on your own social media posts. Try reverse stalking yourself to see how safe your posts are.

Hidden keys are a no no! Maybe.

no-hidden-keyI’m not giving away any secret hiding spots when I mention keys under welcome mats or hidden in planters or hidden under a gnome. Hiding a “just in case” key is an potentially unsafe practice that should be seriously contemplated. Hidden keys can provide an emergency backup option for the once in a blue moon time when you really to gain access to your home and don’t have any other options. But according to a British study, in 2014 there were 6,000 home burglaries involving¬†keys, not forced entry. So, if you are going to use a hidden key as an emergency option, do not use it often. It should be a last resort. If you use it, immediately change your hiding place. Be cautious about hiding it within 15 feet of the main entrance.

Arrange to have your mail and newspapers collected daily.

mail-imageArrange with a neighbor or friend (or someone you can trust) to come over and collect the newspaper and mail daily. When newspapers and mail stack up, its a tell-tale sign that no one is home. We want to avoid this, as it makes our home an inviting target for theft.

Follow these practical steps and you will be able to enjoy your vacation a little more, knowing that you’ve taken some basic precautions against home invasion and burglary.

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