Guarding Your Home When You're Away
HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer
At last you’re going on a well-deserved vacation! In all the joyful anticipation, you will also have a darker thought: will a burglar have an undeserved payday by targeting your home while you’re away? It’s a “downer” but it’s logical because the Uniform Crime Reporting Program (think “FBI”) reports more than 2 million burglaries in the U. S. in 2010, 70+% of which involved residential property.
What can you do to thwart potential burglars in your absence? Some steps cost money; others cost only common sense. Here are some steps, in no particular order of importance.
First, a home security system, preferably one linked to an external security source (such as police or a security company) is always a great idea. Oh, and despite your enthusiastic rush to start the vacation, activate the system before you leave. It works much better that way.
Secondly, stop deliveries of mail and newspapers while you’re away so they don’t accumulate in your absence. Stopping each takes minutes and is well worth the effort.
Third, trusted neighbors are worth their weight in gold. You can ask them to park one of their cars in your driveway, check your house locks, occasionally enter your home and change the positions of your curtains, and generally keep an eye out for anything suspicious inside or outside your home. You don’t have to become blood brothers; just be friendly and rely on each other.
Fourth, install motion sensor lights outside your home and do so in places that cannot be easily reached and disabled by burglars.
Fifth, reduce outdoor hiding places for burglars by keeping house-front shrubs low and trees trimmed high so their low branches are too high for hiding.
Sixth, PLEASE do not hide spare house keys in obvious outside places, such as beneath the doormat or above the door or under the fake rock that even I could find.
Seventh, if you have air conditioners on the first floor, secure them with brackets and sliding window frame locks, so they cannot be easily removed or shoved through the window.
Eighth, cover your garage windows so a potential burglar will not know whether your car is inside.
Ninth, leave the radio on and tuned to a 24/7 station, so it sounds as though someone is home.
Tenth, do not make the burglar’s job easier by leaving around any tools or ladders that could be used to break into your home. Keep them secured and locked up.
Eleventh, invest in a timer for your household lamps, set to turn them on and off as though someone is home.
Twelfth, deal with the glass in windows and doors by using safety film in appropriate places, making it more difficult to break the glass.
Thirteenth, hide valuables. There are myriad hiding places and devices: phony books, phony outlets, phony surge protectors, phony soda cans, hidden wall safes, clock safes, etc.
Fourteenth, if you have a small safe, bolt it down so a burglar cannot remove it from your home.
This article does not touch on every method of thwarting burglars but these 14 steps should make his/her “job” tough-to-impossible.
DO’S AND DON’TS
DO install a home security system and remember to activate it before you leave.
DO stop deliveries of mail and newspapers.
DO get friendly with the neighbors, rely on them and be reliable for them.
DO install motion sensor lights where people cannot tamper with them.
DON’T give burglars extra hiding places: keep shrubs low and trees high.
DON’T hide the spare key in an obvious place.
DO secure first-floor air conditioners.
DO cover garage windows.
DO leave the radio on to a 24/7 station.
DON’T leave tools and ladders unsecured.
DO use a timer for household lamps.
DO use safety film on glass in windows and doors.
DO hide valuables in one or more cunning places and devices.
DO bolt down any small safe.
By Kathy Catanzarite
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.
CRIMINAL LAW DOS AND DON'TS