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How to Protect a Vacant Home

When the summer season approaches, many families and couples start planning their vacations. Whether the destination is near or far, it is important to make sure the home is properly protected. Locking the door and setting the alarm is not enough. The following five tips provide useful information for making a vacant home look less attractive to criminals.

1. Make the house look occupied. Although the home will be vacant, it is important to make any unwanted visitors think twice. If criminals think someone is home, they are much less likely to break in. Purchase timers for several wall outlets. By plugging lamps into these timers, it is possible to program the lights to turn on and off randomly throughout the day. Many DVR systems turn the television screen on when they begin a scheduled recording. If this is the case, set the DVR to record random movies and shows. Another way to make the home less attractive is to set up music to play at different times.

2. Have a neighbor check on the house. Everyone should make friends with at least one person or family in the neighborhood. Since most homeowners want to make their surrounding environment as peaceful as possible, they are usually willing to keep an eye on a vacant property. In addition to watching for burglars, they can watch for smoke or other serious problems with the home.

3. Keep windows, doors and all openings closed and locked. While this tip may seem like it would fall under the category of common sense, many homeowners forget to close a window or lock a door before leaving. Even a window that is slightly open may attract a criminal. When the home is vacant, there is no reason to leave any windows or doors unlocked. If a neighbor will be feeding a pet or bringing in the mail, supply that individual with a key. Never leave even a side door unlocked. Burglars also know that keys are hidden in fake rocks, under doormats or on windowsills, so avoid leaving extra keys out.

4. Hold mail and package deliveries. I:t is best to request a hold for packages and regular mail. A package sitting on a doorstep for a long period of time will look very attractive to a thief. Many criminals look through mailboxes for cards containing money, statements with personal information or any other items of interest. It is possible to fill out a convenient hold form online for regular mail.

5. Activate the security system. If the home does not currently have one of these systems, get one before leaving for vacation. In addition to sounding sirens and alerting law enforcement, they detect carbon monoxide and several other problems in the home. There are also wireless systems, which will still alert law enforcement officials if power cords are cut.

Vacations provide great opportunities for families or couples to enjoy time together. However, burglaries and disasters in the home have the potential to cast a pall on these happy memories. They also create needless hassles and expenses. Before taking off for vacation this year, be sure the house is ready.