How to Protect Your Home When You Are Away

Don't be a home burglary victim. Take the time and effort to make it tough for anyone to get in. Better safe than sorry.

Steps

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    Make sure it appears you are home while you're away. Light and moderate noise may deter burglars.
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    Use light switch timers to realistically simulate occupancy.
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    Leave shades, curtains, and blinds as you usually do.
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    Light up the porch and yard with a time controller. Consider adding outdoor lights with motion sensors.
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    Connect an old, analog type television or radio (modern, electronic ones come on in standby mode -- not in playing mode), or burglar deterrent CD recordings with a schedule-able player with timers.
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    Have lawns mowed, sidewalks swept, and hedges clipped on schedule.
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    Lock all exterior doors securely -- such as, using thick cylinder locks on outside entrances. If you are worried about someone picking or forcing the lock -- which is generally easy to do -- use more secure locks including ones considered pick-resistant.
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    Realize that ordinary windows are easily smashed, but still use safety latches on the windows to keep below-average crooks out.
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    Try keeping screens fastened from within, but it is child's-play to slit them open before pushing window glass in with a pad of some kind.
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    Form a neighborhood crime watch with the assistance of your local police department. Team work, cooperation, and common sense can help make or break a neighborhood. Report anything suspicious.
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    Ask a trusted neighbor to watch your property when you are away. Do the same for them.
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    Check all nearby streetlights to be sure they are functional. If not, contact your electricity company to request a repair. Would-be intruders are not as fond of well-lit areas.
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    Arrange to have a neighbor pick up your mail, circulars, and newspapers when you are on vacation. If that isn't possible, cancel all deliveries, including newspapers. Arrange with your post office to hold your mail or leave it with a neighbor.
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    Never advertise your departure. This may be easier said then done, especially for those who often share personal information on social networking sites (such as Facebook and Twitter).
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    Replace any exterior hollow doors with solid ones.
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    Install locks that wedge and bolt in sliding doors and double hung windows.
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    Invest in a good alarm system. At the very least, buy one of those alarm company signs. eBay is good for that.
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    Check with your police department, you may be able to have a direct connection from your house to the police, but false alarms may cost you a fine.
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    Do that, if and only if your police are stringently honest and secure. People going on vacation who have notified police have had their addresses hacked, stolen or sold and circulated on lists for enterprising thieves and robbers. Many websites are no longer recommending notifying police, but only a good neighbor, when you are away.

Tips

  • You can purchase an exterior door quite cheaply. Light gauge steel-clad doors can cost as little as $175-$200, but heavy duty or special door designs, or with features such as impact-resistant glass (or bullet proof Plexiglas), can increase the price to $1500 or more.
  • Get homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance.

Warnings

  • If you are an apartment renter, do not assume that the landlord or landlady will reimburse you for any losses because of a burglary or fire. They most likely won't, since their insurance does not cover your valuables (why else would you need renter's insurance).

Things You'll Need

  • Locks
  • Police department
  • Neighbor
  • Homeowner's/renter's insurance

Article Info

Categories: Home Security