Many of you are planning your summer vacations, but are you also planning on protecting your home while you’re gone? Here are a few ways some homeowners alert burglars they’re gone.
Burglary Fact: In a matter of minutes, a burglar can grab jewelry, money, and a few valuables – enough to make the risk worth it. Most of them are in and out long before a concerned neighbor notices, or the police arrive.
Here are the top giveaways that you’re gone for an extended amount of time:
1. Closed drapes. If you choose to shut off the air conditioner, drapes can insulate your home from some of the heat. Go ahead and pull some of them part-way shut, but consider leaving at least those on the main level at least partly open.
2. A mail pile-Up. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to have the Post Office hold your mail for the days you’ll be gone and notify your newspaper that you want to cancel delivery for that time as well. Don’t order anything that will be delivered while you’re gone, or have it delivered to a friend’s address.
3. Long grass. Have someone mow your lawn or remove the snow from your driveway and sidewalks. If your front step is raised, have them remove the snow from there too. If you have a lawn service come in, ask them to send you a bill in the mail or pay them in advance. That way they won’t leave a bill hanging on the door – a sure sign you’re gone.
4. Timed lighting. Leaving no lights on or a few lights on all the time is like putting out the welcome mat for burglars. Investing in timed lighting saves electricity and deters break-ins.
5. You might enjoy letting your Facebook and Twitter friends know that you are about to embark on the vacation you’ve been working so hard for, but it’s better to tell them about the trip when you get home. Social media sites are constantly being watched by people you don’t know.
6. Vary the visits. If you have someone stopping by to check on the house, water your plants and lawn, and to feed the cat, ask them to come at different times of the day. If a thief is watching, they will be less likely to take the risk if the visits from your house-sitter happen at different times. Better yet – ask more than one person to stop by at different times.
7. The key. Don’t hide it – give a copy to the house sitter or sitters you have coming over.
8. No parking. If you usually park your other car in the garage, but decide to leave in the driveway while you’re gone, that’s a clue you’re not there.
9. The packed car. If you can, pack the car with the garage door closed. If you don’t have a garage, consider packing it very early on the day you’re leaving. If you get into the car without your luggage, anyone watching will assume you’re not going far.
10. Tell only the neighbors you trust that you’ll be gone. If you don’t know your neighbors well, keep your trip to yourself.
Do burglars really “case” neighborhoods? Yes. Planning ahead allows them a better chance to get in and out before a neighbor notices and the police arrive.
If you have any questions about your insurance, call me at 507-226-8121.
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