Planning an end of summer vacation? More than half of the U.S population will take a vacation away from home this summer. However, according to FBI statistics, most communities will experience a 10 to 18 percent increase in home burglaries during the summer months of July and August.
You can take some steps before you leave to help prevent your home from being broken into while you are away. The Insurance Information Institute believes up to 9 out of 10 home burglaries can be prevented if homeowners take proactive steps to help protect their homes while they are away.
Here are ten tips to help keep your home safe while you travel:
On the Outside
Examine your house from the street. See if any valuables (such as expensive electronics or artwork,) can be seen from the outside. If you normally have curtains open, start having them drawn a week or two prior to your trip. Look at the house at night and note unlit areas. Installing motion lights can help discourage nighttime burglars.
On the Inside
Check your door and window locks. Doors that have deadbolt locks with a one-inch throw and reinforced strike plate are stronger than those with regular screws. Replace short screws with long ones. You can also help make your sliding glass doors and windows more secure with a short dowel rod or piece of steel pipe cut to fit the track and prevent them from being easily slid open from the outside.
In the Garage
Many home thieves enter through a garage. Unplug the power to your automatic garage door to keep anyone from using a universal remote to open it, and lock your garage door as well. You can put C-clamps on the track to prevent it from being rolled up. Frost or cover your garage windows so no-one can see inside.
In the Yard
Have automatic sprinklers set, or a neighbor scheduled to come by and water plants. If you have a regular lawn maintenance service, have them stay on schedule. An untended yard and vegetation is a clear sign a house may be unoccupied.
During the Day
Leave the air conditioner set to kick on and off at intervals, A silent compressor in the heat of summer is a signal to thieves that a home is empty. Have a neighbor park in your driveway occasionally, and put trash containers out once a week to keep up appearances.
Have lights set on a timer, so it looks like an ordinary routine is taking place inside the home – the living room around the time you would normally arrive home from work, the kitchen around dinner time, and bedrooms until your normal bedtime.
Save vacation related posts and photos for when you return or consider setting your social media settings to close friends only if you plan to post about your vacation plans or post photos during your trip. This can help prevent strangers from learning your plans and the dates of your vacation.
If you will be gone for an extended period, have newspaper service paused and mail service on hold. Any potential deliveries can be held at the post office or delivered to a trusted neighbor.
At the Airport
Be cautious when using open WiFi networks to verify travel plans. Refrain from leaving a portable GPS in your car at long term parking as well (this would provide a car thief with a map to your unoccupied home.)
With Security Systems
Consider installing a home security system, and activating it whenever you leave the house. Studies have shown that homes without a working home security system are 300% more likely to experience a theft. A Rutgers study revealed that burglar alarms significantly decrease crime. Your insurance carrier may also offer a discount if you have a working burglar alarm system.
All of these tips are good ways to help reduce the risk of having your home burgled while you are away on vacation.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not form a part of, replace, change or amend any terms, conditions, provisions or language within your Olympus Insurance policy. We encourage you to read your entire policy.