Going on vacation? Make your home safe

The BPC and III offer these specific tips to follow before you go on vacation:
  • Examine your house from the street and make sure no valuables, like expensive electronics or artwork, is visible from the street. If a passerby can see your belongings, so can criminals.
  • Lock and fasten all doors and windows locked and fastened. Doors should have deadbolt locks with a one-inch throw and reinforced strike plate.
  • Secure sliding glass doors. Place a metal rod or piece of plywood in the track to prevent an intruder from forcing the door open.
  • Always lock the door to your attached garage.
  • Make it appear that you’re home – use timers on lights, radios, and televisions.
  • Keep the perimeter of your home well lighted. You can do this by installing low-voltage outdoor lighting.
  • Never leave clues that you are away. Ask a neighbor to collect your mail and newspapers—or ask for them to be held. You may also want to ask a neighbor to park in your driveway so it appears someone is home.
  • Keep some shades and blinds up and curtains open to keep a normal appearance.
  • Never leave a message on your answering machine saying you are on vacation.
  • Trim the shrubbery near your home’s entrance and walkway. This prevents a would-be burglar from hiding in tall, bushy foliage.
  • Organize or join a community watch program to protect your neighborhood.
  • And, of course, if you have a home security system, make sure it is activated when you leave. The more difficult you make it for the intruder, the less likely he or she will be to pursue forcing their way into your home.
In fact, the III says that if it takes a burglar more than four or five minutes to break into your home, they’ll move on to the next one.
In addition, most insurance companies provide 2 to 15 percent discounts for devices that make a home safer – dead-bolt locks, window grates, bars and smoke/fire/burglar alarms.
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