As we head into the dog days of summer, families are thinking about vacation destinations and the beaches and water parks that await them. But for some homeowners, the anticipation of getting away from the daily grind for a few days is overshadowed by concern about their empty homes being targeted by burglars.
And with good reason. Each year there are more than 2.15 million burglaries, and 65 percent of those are residential break-ins, according to a July 2007 Insurance Information Institute (III) report. The majority of those burglaries occur in the peak vacation months of July and August. More alarming is that the report states 9 out of 10 home break-ins could be prevented if homeowners took simple steps to burglarproof their homes.
What does that mean?
- Don’t let mail and newspapers pile up on the porch. Either stop delivery or have a friend or neighbor pick them up for you.
- Keep bushes and shrubs well-trimmed so they can’t be used as a hideout.
- Have your lawn maintained if you will be gone for more than a few days.
- Use timers on lights, televisions and radios to provide sound and lights inside your home.
- Keep the outside of your home well lit. Would-be thieves prefer not to be seen.
- Leave the air conditioner on. A silent compressor on a hot day is a good indication you aren’t home.
- Unplug everything but the refrigerator, freezer, and the lights and radios you have set on timers.
- Where possible, turn off the water to your sinks, toilets, dishwasher, washing machine and hot water heater.
Follow these tips and you’re sure to have an enjoyable—and safe—summer holiday.