June 4, 2012 3:26 am
1. Do not post about your vacation online until after you get back. If that takes more discipline than you can muster, at the very least keep your location status off any public social networking pages. Many burglars use these sites to identify "safe" targets.
2. Make your home look lived in. A light on a timer is a great first step. You can even buy a small device called "FakeTV" that simulates the light output of a television, making it look like you are home watching TV each evening.
3. Don't leave obvious signs that the house is unoccupied. Stop the mail and paper, or have a neighbor take it in. Arrange for lawn care as needed, and don't leave notes on the door.
4. Make your home hard to get into. You need good locks. Your hidden outdoor key is probably not as cleverly hidden as you think it is. Get to know your neighbors, and leave the key with them. Let them know you will be gone, and have them keep an eye on your house during your absence. If you have an alarm system, by all means use it. Amazingly, many people forget to set the alarm. Conversely, do not think that an alarm system makes you invulnerable. Burglars can still cause you a great deal of misery in a smash-and-grab robbery, leaving before the police can respond. Park a car in the driveway, but be sure to take out the garage door opener first.
5. Remove obvious temptations. Take a walk around your property and make sure you cannot see any easily pawned valuables through uncovered windows. Are there any ladders left out, or particularly easy or well-concealed access points?
6. Prepare for the worst. If your computer were stolen, what might the consequences be? For most of us, this would be dire indeed. Make sure to back up and password protect. Make a quick run-through around the house with a video recorder, listing off the valuables. This could save a lot of hassle with the insurance company if you need to file a claim.
7. Strike the right balance. Only you can make the trade-off between security measures and the burdens they impose. You may wish to place irreplaceable items in a secure location, such as a fireproof safe. This can include expensive jewelry, family photos, and financial records. Make sure your insurance policy is up-to-date. Also, label your possessions with your name.
The good news is that only two out of a hundred homes will be burglarized in any given year. The bad news is that for those two homes that are burglarized, the effects of the intrusion are often devastating. The average burglary costs $1,750, and an invaluable amount of peace of mind. Take a few simple steps to improve your home's security and ensure that your getaway is that much more relaxing.
Published with permission from RISMedia.