Over 2 Million burglaries are reported throughout the United States each year, which means America leads the world in occurrences of burglary. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute revealed that the majority of residential burglaries happen during July and August of each year — the months wherein most families schedule their summer vacations. There’s nothing worse than returning home from a fun family vacation to find that thieves have invaded your home. Because of that, you’ll find a list of five things below that you and your family can do before heading out of town to help minimize the risk of burglary while you’re away.
1. Make It Appear That Someone’s Home
Most law enforcement officials and home security experts agree that a home that appears occupied is less likely to be targeted by would-be thieves. But what exactly does ‘making it appear occupied’ entail?
By simply driving by a home that’s completely dark at nightfall is usually a clear signal that the homeowners have not yet returned home. A lack of noise — perhaps from the television or radio — is also generally a good indication that no one’s at home.
Among the best ways to give the home the appearance that someone is inside is through the use of light timers. Available at your local home improvement retailer, light timers can be as simple or as sophisticated as you desire, with most light timers started at just $7.00.
By simply plugging them into a wall outlet (or into a lamp or light fixture, depending on the timer you choose), the timers will switch the lights in the home on and off at a schedule pre-determined by the homeowner. This tends to trick the would-be thief who may be casing the home into believing that someone’s at home. Because most burglars simply want to get in and out of the home undetected, the possibility that the home is occupied makes it a far less likely target.
2. No Oversharing on Social Media
With billions of people using some form of social media every single day, it’s highly tempting to share all your plans and upcoming events through this platform. However, revealing this type of information publicly is a huge no-no, as it leaves the “door open”, if you will, for burglars to target your home, knowing that the family is away.
Also speaking of oversharing, don’t update your outgoing voicemail greeting to let others know you’re away, either.) Instead, limit these details only to key people (a neighbor, a family member or trusted friend, etc.) who will agree to keep an eye out while your family is away.
3. Manage Your Mail and Other Deliveries
Before you leave, you’ll want to be sure the mail is handled appropriately. For some, this could involve alerting the postal service to hold your mail until a specified date. For others, have a neighbor or friend pick up the mail, thereby maintaining a somewhat steady routine.
Some homeowners opt to have home improvement work done while their family is away from home. If you have, indeed, scheduled repair work during the time you’re away, alert a neighbor who can look for the repair technicians (and describe them if necessary). Some law enforcement officials have reported that thieves have used what appears to be a work vehicle, pulling into the driveway as if they are scheduled to be there. However, they’re inside stealing the homeowner’s belongings because they know the family is away. Meanwhile, neighbors were duped into thinking the supposed ‘work vehicle’ was legitimate; thus, they never called for help.
4. Double-Check To Assure All Entry Points Are Secure
Statistics show that nearly 30 percent of burglars gain access to a home through an unlocked door or window. Thus, before hustling out of the home in a huge hurry to get to all the fun, be sure that all windows and doors are secure. If you’re aware of weak or hollow doors or window latches that do not operate as they should, consider having them repaired ahead of time. With the FBI reporting a loss of $2,185 per burglary, the time and money spent on simple repairs (not to mention peace of mind) is well worth it.
5. Use A Home Security System
According to a 2012 study conducted at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 60 percent of burglars interviewed said that when an alarm system was present, they abandoned that home in favor of other alternatives. Home security systems are often equipped with motion sensors (which light up the area when someone comes within range); further, the noise alerts both neighbors and law enforcement… all of which work against the burglars efforts to get in and out of the home unnoticed.