Even in this age of savvy homeowners, summer vacation remains a time when burglars do their best business. Fortunately, a few prevention tips can help keep you from becoming a target for crooks.
Keep Your Plans Off Facebook
Social media is as great for finding out you won’t be home for a week as it is for catching up with old friends. Even if your privacy settings are top-notch, a wily crook can gain access to your feed and see that you won’t be anywhere near home. Worse, he knows exactly when you’ll be gone and exactly when you’re coming back, so he can take his sweet time checking out your home.
Forget the Hidden Keys
The word is out about stashing spare house keys under door mats or in fake rocks. Burglars are at least smart enough to know where to look for spare keys, and, believe it, they’ll find yours, even if you think you’ve hidden it really well. A better alternative is to give a spare set to a trusted neighbor, friend, or relative. If you need the keys upon your return, you can pick them up, or just get them later if you don’t need your spare.
Thwart Easy Access
A good lock can work wonders, and all your doors should have one. Likewise, all your windows should be shut tight and locked from the inside. Still, it’s best to make sure the house appears lived-in while you’re away. Burglars are drawn to easy targets and would rather not take the chance that you’re faking it by leaving a car in the driveway. So leave your car (or that of a trusted neighbor, friend, or relative) in the driveway. If you can, arrange for someone to stay at your house or at least check in for a while every day you’re gone so no one suspects the house is empty.
Don’t Forget Your ComputerIf your efforts to keep burglars out fail and someone steals your computer, what could they access just by signing on? Do you have your travel itinerary in a nice big folder labeled “Vacation Plans” on your desktop? Are you logged in automatically to your bank account? Are your passwords protected? Make sure you’ve signed out of all your accounts (even email) before you leave. And make sure the password to access your system is as tough as it can be. Also, don’t have account numbers in files that can be easily found and opened, because like the hidden key, burglars know to look for your information. Related, shred any old documents with account numbers on them or make sure they’re locked away, preferably in a safe deposit box at your bank.