Nothing is more exciting than going away somewhere for a long weekend, but how safe is your home when you are gone? Have you made it hard enough to get into so that you can deter burglars? Most home invasions happen when the owners are away so take your time to make sure your home is safe when you are away. Here are some tips:
How do burglars know where to go? They check in houses that allow easy entry. In fact, research shows that they usually target homes that offer little or no resistance. Make it a habit to always lock up doors and windows, and have someone check once a day to make sure that everything is as it should be.
STOP THE MAIL
How does everyone know that you’re not home? Heaps of newspapers and letters on the doorstep. The easiest thing to do is to have a neighbor walk over each morning and retrieve any mail that they find. If you are going away for a while, you can stop all mail completely until you get back.
DON’T TWEET OR FACEBOOK
You have locked up everything nice and safe, you have asked your neighbor to collect your mail, and then you go to Facebook and tell everyone that you’re away.
All they need to do is plan for a time when they can work uninterrupted breaking into your house. Keep your absence quiet.
SET LIGHTS TO A TIMER
If your lights usually go on at 7pm, have a timer that will automatically put them on at that time. If you can’t get a timer, again ask a neighbor to promptly check in at the agreed time and switch them on. Remember to have them put off in the morning.
TURN YOUR EQUIPMENT OFF
If you will be away for more than a few days, make sure that you disconnect anything from the power units that could get damaged if there was a storm (lightning affects electrical equipment). Turn your gas off as well and the gas company is happy to do this for you at no fee.
DON’T KEEP EXPENSIVE THINGS IN THE HOUSE
They belong in a bank or a safe house. The more expensive things there are in your house, like jewelry and art, the more likely it is that people will know about them and you will become a target. If you must have them in the home, make arrangements to move them for the duration you will be gone.
On a separate note, you pay more in homeowners insurance when you have expensive things in the house than when you don’t and the insurance company knows that you are a target for thieves and they want to be ready for when you file a claim.
NO KEYS UNDER THE MAT
That is the first place that burglars check. If someone else in the house has to have a key, make them a copy that they can carry around. If you have kids who come from school in the day when no one is home, make a key for them and buy them a cool key chain that they can wear around their necks and under their clothes, out of sight. Otherwise arrange to have a neighbor open the door for them.
Don’t leave it on your answering machines
In the same way that you don’t want to tell it on Facebook, you don’t want to leave a message on your answering machine that tells people that you are away. These are general tips for keeping your home safe when you are away on those long weekends. You know your house best so if there is anything that we have left out but that you can do to make your house safer, don’t hesitate to do it.