Summer is not only classified as "vacation season" but also "intruder season." The FBI reports that home intrusions increase by nearly 10-20 percent during the months of July and August. So before your pack your bags for that cross-country road trip or weekend getaway, make a plan to protect your home while you are away. Alarm.org, an online resource for consumers interested in learning about electronic security, offers these tips:
Keep your traveling under wraps. Never post the date or location of your upcoming trip on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter or anywhere else on the Internet. Doing so could make you an easy target for a home intrusion. Intruders are known to troll social media websites looking for dates when homes will be unoccupied.
Discourage home intrusions. Since intruders prey on unoccupied homes, it’s important to make it appear as though someone is home even when there isn’t. Set timers on your lights, radios and televisions so they turn on and off during times you would normally use them. Ask a neighbor you trust to put your trash cans out on trash day and pick up your mail and newspaper. Another option is contacting your mail and subscription providers to temporarily stop delivery while you are away. Additionally, intruders take notice of an overgrown lawn so make proper arrangements to have your lawn mowed if you will be gone for an extended amount of time.
Deny easy access to your belongings. Security industry research shows that nearly one-third of all intruders enter a home through the front door and typically spend no more than 60 seconds breaking in. To increase the difficulty of breaking into your home, upgrade the locks on your doors and windows. Deadbolt locks are an inexpensive and effective way to keep intruders out.
Manage the risk by enlisting help. Inform trusted neighbors, friends and family of your vacation plans and ask them to keep an eye on your property while you are away. Be sure to tell them how long you will be gone and give them the names or descriptions of anyone that may need access to your house. Always leave a house key and a phone number where you can be reached with a trusted individual. If you will be taking an extended vacation, consider hiring a house sitter.
Protect your home by being able to detect an intruder. Homes without an alarm system are three times more likely to be broken into than homes with a system. To add to your home’s protection and your peace of mind, both home and away, Alarm.org recommends investing in a monitored alarm system. Remember your alarm system only works when it is armed, so it is important to activate your alarm, especially when you are on vacation. Crime statistics show that most alarm systems are turned off in homes that are burglarized. Always make sure that anyone with access to your home knows how to properly operate the system. You can find out more information about home alarm systems at www.alarm.org. You can also help detect an intruder by installing motion-sensor lights in dark areas around your home such as the back door and garage area.
Johns Creek residents can fill out an online Vacation Watch form that requests an officer check on their homes daily while they are away.
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