Top 5 tips to protect your home from break-ins
Are you planning a vacation over March Break? Going away for a long weekend to visit family and friends? Regardless of your travel plans, if you’re planning to leave your home unoccupied for any length of time, it is important to ensure your home is not an easy target for thieves while you’re away!
According to Statistics Canada, there were over 313,000 property crimes in Ontario alone last year; including almost 40,000 breaking and entering incidents.
Here are the top 5 things you can do to make your home more secure and help prevent a break-in while you are away on vacation:
Lock your doors and windows.
40% of all home break-ins happen without the use of force. So, it’s safe to say locking your doors and windows is the easiest and most important thing you can do to help prevent a break-in.
Add light timers.
It makes sense that burglars target unoccupied homes; that’s why it is important to create the illusion that people are home. Although most break-ins occur during daylight (80% in fact!) when people are generally at work, having your lights on timers to maintain normal lighting patterns is still a good idea.
Get an alarm.
Adding a 24hr monitored alarm service to your home will significantly decrease your risk of becoming a victim of burglary. The presence of an alarm sign on your home will often deter burglars from targeting your home. In addition, monitored security systems can also protect your home from smoke, fire, carbon monoxide and even water damage, depending on the service you subscribe to; and in most cases, a monitored alarm will get you an extra discount on your property insurance policy!
Get help from a friend.
A noticeably empty home is an easy target for thieves. When you’re away, have a friend or neighbor keep your home looking occupied; cut the grass, shovel the driveway, pick up the mail, leave a bag out on garbage day. All of these things can help make your home look lived in even when you’re on a beach somewhere warm!
Don’t leave them a key to your house (or car).
If you’re still hiding a key under your front mat, on top of the door frame, under a rock or potted plant, don’t. Go pick up the key and give it to a friend or neighbor you trust. No matter how well you think your key is hidden, it can always be found.
Also, don’t leave your car keys on the kitchen counter unless you want potential thieves to use your vehicle as their getaway car. Instead, leave your car keys with the same friend who is checking on your house; in the event of an emergency, they may need them!
BONUS TIP! Try to keep your plans and photos off Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms until you return. Social networks have become a big part of our everyday lives so it’s easy to get caught up in the ease and excitement of sharing your vacation experiences with friends and family as they happen. Just remember you may also be posting a “vacant home” sign online for potential burglars.