Did you know that statistically a burglary occurs in the United States every 14.4 seconds? (At least according to the FBI.) As a season full of holiday-related travel approaches, are you doing what you can to adequately secure your home while you’re gone?
According to data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, burglaries accounted for an estimated $4.8 billion in lost property in 2011, with an average individual loss of $2,185. The affects go beyond money. As a person who’s been the victim of a burglary, there’s an accompanying feeling of violation that takes some time to shake.
As the Philadelphia Police Blog puts it, security is a mindset, but it doesn’t have to be a burden. Simple things like setting some lights on timers can make a big difference. Take some time to consider your worst-case scenario in a burglary and do something to prevent it. If that leads you to back up your computer or take a quick inventory of your belongings—great.
Whether you’re going away for ten days or two nights, here are some more simple things you do to secure your home:
- Get to know your neighbors. Let trusted ones know you are leaving and ask them to keep an eye on your home. (Our neighbors were able to stop the people breaking into our garage from getting away with more.) Have them pick up your mail/newspaper, or stop those deliveries for the duration of your trip because a pile of mail is an easy indicator that someone isn’t home.
- Resist social media! Don’t announce your travel plans on Twitter or Facebook. If you can’t stop making non-vacation related updates, at least turn off the location status on any public forum so people don’t know how far you are from home.
- Make your place look lived in. Set your outside lights so at least one stays on at night and put timers on your indoor lighting so they go on and off at random intervals. You can even get a product that looks like you’re watching TV when you’re not.
- Hide obvious temptations. Have an awesome grill? Place it in a locked shed. Can you see in your windows? Don’t leave something valuable near them.
- Use your locks. A quality deadbolt lock is the first defense from an intruder entering your home, but it only works when it’s used. And don’t hide a spare key outside. Criminals have more experience finding spare keys than you have hiding keys. If you need to leave a key somewhere, leave it with a trusted neighbor.
- And personally, if you have a car parked outside, do not leave a garage door opener in it. That’s how our garage was broken into. I’ll never make that mistake again.
The last thing you want to have to deal with while you’re gone is a broken-into home. The holiday season can be stressful enough.
No matter where you travel, do what you can to keep your family and your home safe.
by Brianne Tucker