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When spring comes around, many will be taking that long-awaited vacation to “get away from it all.” Unfortunately, some vacationers will return home to find “it all” is no longer there.
Home burglaries are generally higher during peak travel months. Nationally, a burglary happens every 13 seconds.
Many home burglaries, however, could be prevented by taking a few simple precautions. AAA provides the following tips for any home owner planning that well-deserved vacation:
- Many burglars enter a house through a window. Remember to close and lock all house and garage windows and doors. Slide locks are recommended for sliding glass doors.
- If you own a second car, lock and park it halfway up the driveway to deter potential burglars from pulling a vehicle close to your house. However, if you live in an area where car thefts are frequent, you must carefully consider this option. AAA suggests that any vehicle parked outside and left unattended for an extended period should be protected with some type of auto theft or security device.
- Leave blinds and curtains in their normal position so that your house doesn’t have a closed-down look. Another helpful hint is to move expensive electronic equipment such as televisions, stereos, computers, valuable collectibles, firearms and other attractive items away from windows, where they are within easy site.
- Engraved property is less attractive to burglars. Positive identification through engraving can also lead to a quicker recovery of stolen items.
- Don’t broadcast your trip regardless of how delighted you are about the vacation. Out-of-office email replies automated voice messages should be brief and general.
- NEVER post information about your vacation on FaceBook, Twitter, blogs or other social media – at least until you have returned home.
- Ask a close neighbor or friend to pick-up your daily delivery of mail. If that is not an option, have the U. S. postal service hold your mail and temporarily cancel your newspaper subscription.
- Ask a trusted friend to inspect your house regularly and inform them of who to contact in case of an emergency. Ask them to turn outdoor lights on at night or put your lights on a timer. Whoever is minding your house should also be given a key to your car in case the vehicle needs to be moved during an emergency. Also, make them aware of anyone who may be visiting your home while you are away such as yard maintenance workers.
- Set an automatic timer so interior lights periodically turn on and off. A timer on a radio is also suggested.
- Make arrangements for the safe storage of your valuables.
- If traveling for an extended period, arrange for lawn service. It’s important to keep shrubbery trimmed around doors and windows. Don’t give a thief a convenient place to hide.
- Never leave spare keys “hidden” under doormats, in flowerpots, or anywhere outside the house.
- Make certain your home owner insurance policy is paid.
- If you are traveling by air and departing from a local airport, don’t expose personal information on your luggage tags. If possible, use your business address instead of home address or use tag covers. If a thief reads the address on your luggage tags, he may assume your home is an unoccupied and thus easy target.
- Upon returning from your trip, if you notice the front door ajar and its suspect that an uninvited guest has broken into your home, go to the nearest phone and call for police assistance.