Protecting Your Homes During the Summer Travel Season
Before leaving your home alone for vacation time this summer, seek some risk identifications to unoccupied homes and steps necessary to mitigate them.
Burglary is, of course, the biggest risk, and home security systems provide exceptional safety and peace of mind. However, the homeowner still has a critical role in making sure his or her home and its contents are safe.
Do not broadcast your whereabouts and travel activities on social media. Criminals lurk online and are eager to burgle a home when they know the residents are away.
Make the home look occupied:
- If cars are normally left outside, have someone periodically drive them or move them around.
- If there is a swimming pool, keep the water in it circulating.
- Make sure that lawn mowing and watering continue as scheduled.
- Put a hold on mail and newspaper. Use timers on exterior lights to go on and off at the usual times.
Secure the home and its contents. Security systems can only do so much. Take extra precautions when you plan to be away:
- Add security lights with motion sensors to scare off potential burglars.
- Close all window latches and put a secondary blocking device such as a wooden dowel.
- Let the security company know when the home will be vacant.
- Lock the garage door manually.
- Move jewelry to a safe or bank safety deposit box.
- Do not leave keys in an obvious place.
- Lower the volume or shut off the ringer on telephones so they cannot be heard outside.
- Make sure fine art, expensive electronics and other valuables are not visible through windows.
- Put fresh batteries in smoke detectors so they remain operable.
- Deadbolt the doors.
Minimize the potential for damage. Some steps you can take to avert potential disasters include:
- Shutting off water lines.
- Making sure a sump pump in the basement is working properly.
- Making sure washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers are turned off.
- Unplugging small appliances and electronics to prevent damage from a power surge.
A watchful pair of eyes is the best defense, so ask a trusted neighbor to look in on things while you are away, to alert you and the police is there is anything suspicious. A house-sitting arrangement is worth considering for a long absence.