Looking forward to a much-deserved holiday? You may want to shout it from the roof tops when you are going on vacation but ... don't. An empty house can become a plundered house if you don't take proper precautions before you embark on your holiday, and while you're away.
Burglaries can happen even when you're at home of course, and in fact according to the FBI, in 2010 more than 2 million burglaries happened in this country. Reduce your risk of becoming one of these statistics in the future by planning and using these tips.
Locking up may seem so basic as to not need stating. But, if you don't make sure your locks are solid and secure you might as well leave the front door open with the Welcome mat out on the porch.
Instead, let your front door greet wannabe intruders with a deadbolt. Sliding doors or windows should not only be locked, they should be braced with metal dowels at the base.
You know how movies show people leaving or finding keys under door mats and potted plants on the porch? Forget that. You don't know who might be looking under your mat or plant for entry into your house. Decide instead who among your trusted acquaintances are safe guardians for your keys in case of emergency.
Don't want to make an announcement of your absence to anyone passing by? Make arrangements to have your mail held by the post office, and have your newspaper delivery stopped till you are back home.
Or, if you want to be more secure yet, avoid having to tell someone you don't know at the newspaper or post office that you'll be away by asking a trusted neighbor to pick up telltale papers and mail.
Automatic timers for your lights can prevent your house from looking abandoned. Set them for different times through the day so it looks like someone is there.
Don't change your voice mail message to be red flag that you are away, or revealing how long you'll be away.
Is one of your friends or neighbors willing to park a car in your laneway while you're gone? This helps make it look like someone is at home. Pay someone to mow your lawn if you'll be away for very long.
Your full name and address should not be emblazoned on any of your luggage.