? Summer is almost here and you know what that means: VACATIONS with the family. Whether it’s on sandy beaches or your favorite plastic kiddie pool in the backyard. Whatever the case may be here are a few vacation safety tips before you leave town for a week. I’m not telling you these statistics below to scare you, but more to inform you of what happens when people go on vacations, Safety First ?
- Five percent of U.S. households experience an attempted or completed burglary each year — that’s one out of every 20.
- 13,000 burglaries occur in the U.S. every day, about one every 15 seconds.
- Two-thirds of all burglaries in the U.S. are perpetrated at residential households.
- The average burglary takes seven minutes to complete.
- Eighty percent of illegal entries are made through a locked door.
- The average loss per burglary is $1,400.
- The perpetrator of burglaries usually lives within one to two miles of his victim.
Does this mean you need to invest in a complicated alarm system? ? Hire a monitoring company? Stay home from vacation? The smart homeowner knows the dangers and how to minimize opportunities for victimization. Make yourself a checklist, follow the advice below, and enjoy your trip.
A monitored alarm system can give you a lot of peace of mind, but it’s by no means a cure-all for burglary-prevention. While simply having an alarm-company sign or sticker in a window is a crime deterrent, the fact remains that, should a burglar choose to break in, chances are that he’ll be gone before the police respond to the alarm. Boost your home’s protection by following these suggestions ?
- If you have hollow-core doors, knob-only locks, or windows in your doors, replace them with solid-core, windowless doors. Install deadbolt locks.
- Replace loose screens on windows, repair broken latches and cracked window panes. Be sure to close and lock all windows.
- Trim back shrubbery around windows and doors so that none of your entrances or windows are obscured from the street. Heavy, concealing foliage is an invitation to a burglar.
- Never, under any circumstances, “hide” a key outside of your house. The burglar has already thought of every clever hiding place you come up with. And forget about the hollow fake rocks sold in hardware stores — they don’t even fool children.
- If you’re traveling in the summer, turn your air conditioning on to about 77 degrees to control humidity. If it’s a winter getaway, leave the pilot light on your gas water heater or turn your electric water heater to the coolest setting. Turn your thermostat down to about 65 degrees.
- Clean out the refrigerator and cupboards of perishable foods so you don’t come home to an out-of-control science experiment. Turn off your ice maker — these have been known to continue producing to the point of pushing open the freezer door or busting the water line and flooding the house.
- Unplug all televisions, stereo equipment, computers, and other electronics in case of a lightning surge.
- Have a trusted neighbor or friend hold a spare key to your house and check on the house periodically — if a water pipe does break or you did leave the iron on, your friends can prevent complete destruction of your home.
- Ask a neighbor to drag one of her garbage cans in front of your house on trash day and to occasionally park in your driveway.
- If you have an automatic sprinkler system, be sure to leave it running. Have someone come mow your lawn or rake your leaves while you’re gone.
- Put timers on some of the lamps near your windows so that they will light at dusk and shut off at the time you’d normally retire.
- Install motion-activated lights in the front and back of the house.
- Turn the ringer down low on all phones — that way a burglar won’t be alerted by an endlessly ringing phone.
- Don’t announce your absence on your answering machine or voicemail, and Don’t put notes on your front door, such as “Take deliveries next door.”
- Put a “Beware of Dog” sign in your window even if you don’t own a dog.
- Secure storage sheds, attic entrances, gates.
- Call your local police to let them know you’ll be traveling. Many departments have programs that send patrol officers out to your home, even walk around your yard while you’re away.
- If you must park your car in the driveway, be sure to remove garage door openers and house keys, and lock the car doors.
- Move small valuables — jewelry, credit cards you won’t be using — to a safe-deposit box or safe.
Following this advice may decrease the chances of a break-in or appliance tragedy by a good percentage. And, you’ll increase your own peace of mind and be more relaxed while you’re vacationing.
Enjoy your vacation and safe travels this year ????