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Prevent break-ins for a great homecoming from vacation

June 22, 2017

Sunset photo with a mountain and lake.
Photo: Watching a sunset like this on vacation is a lot more relaxing when you know you’ve done everything you can to prevent a break-in while you’re gone. Read on for great home safety tips.​

Imagine the perfect summer vacation. Whether it was fishing, family, or theme parks (or some combination), you posted a bunch of photos that made your friends jealous. And now you’re tired, happy, maybe a little sunburned, and really looking forward to your own bed.

So how will it feel to come home to a crime scene? A burglary takes place about every 18 seconds in the US. But by taking a few steps before you leave for your trip, you can greatly increase your chances of coming home to a safe, secure house with all your possessions intact.

  • Many thieves choose their targets via social media. Post your vacation photos after you get home, and take a good hard look at your security settings (who can see what) on your social media accounts.
  • Over half of all break-ins happen through the front or back door. Make sure you have good quality locks on all potential entrances, and then use them.
  • They usually go for the master bedroom, so keep your valuables somewhere else. Safes or lockboxes are good places to start, especially if they’re bolted to the floor.
  • Another easy way to choose a target is watching for telltale signs of absence like mail and newspapers piling up and overgrown lawns. Get a friend to visit every day while you’re gone.
  • Thieves work quickly, so do everything you can to slow them down. Cameras, monitored home security systems, motion-activated lights, high-quality doors (metal or solid wood), and neighborhood watch groups are great places to start.
  • Most break-ins take place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when everyone is away at school or work. Burglars don’t have the cover of night, but don’t give them the cover of vegetation, either. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed, especially those near doors and windows.
  • Make sure you have good homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, and keep an up-to-date inventory (photos, serial numbers, receipts or appraisals) of valuables like jewelry, tools, and electronics. That will make it much easier to file a claim should the time come.

So have a fantastic time seeing family, riding rollercoasters, or fishing at the lake – and if you take a little time before you leave to discourage break-ins, it’ll be a lot easier to relax on your vacation knowing you’re coming back to a safe, secure home.