Home Safety for the Summer Traveler
Summer started on Tuesday, and yesterday was the "Longest Friday" of the year; in slightly over a week, it will be the 4th of July. Ungodly heat waves have (mostly) passed, leaving a forecast of certified perfect weather days in their wake. You know what this all means: the summer vacation high season is upon us.
Whether you're going for a weekend trip to the (very full) Lake Tahoe, or braving the humidity and throngs of tourists for a whirlwind tour of Washington, D.C., REALTOR Magazine recently shared some home security tips to keep in mind for a worry-free holiday... and I have a few of my own to add!
- Secure all windows and doors. This seems obvious, but anyone hurrying to pack their last few items in time to catch a flight or airporter can attest to the fact that it's easy to forget the basics when you're rushing. Most burglars enter through either the front door or a first floor window. Ensure that windows are locked, sliding doors have barrier bars, and consider a smart doorbell. Do not leave a spare key under the mat or with workers.
- The mere presence of a home surveillance system is a deterrent. A report by the University of North Carolina showed that 60% of convicted burglars said the presence of a security system influenced their decision to target another home. Always use the window stickers and yard signs to alert would-be intruders. Roger has been known to put up "Beware of Dog" signs as well.
- Avoid leaving other cues of your absence. Have a neighbor, relative or friend collect your mail, flyers from solicitors and (if applicable) newspapers from the driveway. If you don't have regular gardeners, arrange for your lawn to be mowed. For longer trips, put in a temporary stop mail at USPS so that your mailbox isn't bursting full. Leave on a porch light and/or another first floor light. Ooma Home Security recommends getting a smart light that can be controlled from your phone. Alternatively, a simple timer outlet is 10 bucks on Amazon. Roger also prefers to turn on a radio to a talk radio station when he's gone during the day.
- Don't put valuables where a burglar expects them. If all of your safety precautions so far don't work and a burglar has broken in, studies show they'll head for the master bedroom first. Get creative with stashing jewelry, weapons, laptops and other valuables. Consider investing in a safe that bolts to the floor, especially if you keep firearms in your home: about 232,000 guns are stolen every year.
- Know what your insurance covers. If you have homeowner's or renter's insurance, find out ahead of time if it covers the cost of replacing stolen items in the event of a home theft. Arrests after home burglaries are rare, and it can be even harder to recover your possessions.