Millions of Americans hit the road or take to the sky for summer vacation. This could be a prime time for thieves to target your home while you’re away. Your Better Business Bureau (BBB) wants to help you avoid becoming a burglary victim.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), about 2 million home burglaries happen every year, with one occurring every 13 seconds. The FBI also says most burglaries happen during the summer. Thieves like easy access, such as looking for homes with unlocked windows and doors.
To help keep your home safe while you’re away, your BBB suggests you:
• Consider having someone keep an eye on the house. Have him go by your house once or twice a week to check on everything.
• Call your local police department to let them know you’ll be away. Having a police officer doing a vacation check is an added level of security.
• Never share vacation plans on social media. Beware of your privacy setting on social media sites.
• Lock your doors even for a short period of time. Be sure you use a heavy-duty deadbolt.
• Make sure your hedges and bushes are trimmed so burglars don’t have a place to hide.
• Keep curtains and/or shades open or closed as you would if you were home. Be sure to move expensive items, like jewelry or computers, out of sight.
• Consider having a contractor scheduled to do work while you’re away. Having exterior work done while you’re away can make it appear someone is home.
• Make sure you park a car in the driveway or ask a neighbor to park there.
• Leave lights on inside and out. Use a timer so the lights aren’t constantly on.
• Don’t leave spare keys outside in a trusted spot. Instead, give a key to a neighbor, friend or family member.
• Keep your mail safe. Stop mail delivery if you’re traveling.
Remember, a good way to keep your home safe while you’re away is by installing a home security system. Shop around and get several written estimates. Ask if companies screen employees. You want people you can trust installing your system and having access to personal information, like passwords. Inquire about what else the system monitors besides fire and intruders. Get a written contract detailing installation, costs, alarm type, coverage, contract length, warranties/guarantees and cancellation policy. You can always get help from your BBB, such as a list of BBB-accredited businesses and business reviews on ones you’re considering.
If you do own a security system, alert the company that you’ll be traveling.
For information, visit www.bbb.org or call 800-776-5301.
The writer is the president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Dayton.