Going on vacation is a time to get away from everyday stresses, relax, and recharge. Whether you are packing up the camper for a weekend in the White Mountains or heading out for an overseas adventure, extended time away from your normal routine can raise a red flag and provide an opportunity for criminals to break into your home.
With just 4 easy anti-burglary steps, you can protect your New Hampshire home and rest easy while on your well-deserved holiday.
1. Make the House Look Occupied
Burglars look for certain tell-tale signs that no one is home, such as piled up mail or newspapers, uncut grass and a dark home. Thwart them by arranging for it to look like someone’s home.
- Use timers on lamps, TVs, and radios. Having lights and TVs turning on and off to mimic your typical routine will make it look as though you’re home.
- Have your mail stopped while away by either filling out a short form at your local US Post Office, or visit USPS.com and file the form electronically.
- Arrange for a neighbor to check for unexpected package deliveries
- Hire someone to mow the grass, water the plants or remove snow while you’re gone.
- Ask your neighbor to put your trash barrels out on trash day, or to put their trash in front of your home.
2. Take Safety Precautions
Vacation isn’t the only time someone might break into your home, but some lapses in security do become more apparent while not at home. Take some precautions before you leave and keep year-round to help prevent break-ins at any time.
- Install motion-sensor lighting. This will light up the exterior of your home if it senses anyone approaching, making it less inviting to thieves.
- Notify the police that you will be away. Many departments will arrange for additional patrolling in your neighborhood, which may deter a thief.
- Lock all doors and windows before leaving and never leave a key in an obvious hiding location.
- Doors should be solid and have a 1-inch deadbolt and other safety features.
- A door between the garage and interior of the home should be treated as an exterior door and be as secure as other exterior doors.
- Use a metal or wooden bar in the track of a sliding glass door to prevent it from being opened.
- Keep shrubbery well-trimmed to minimize places to hide while breaking into your home.
- Using thorny plants, such as rose bushes, near the house, can also act as a deterrent.
- Never leave ladders accessible where thieves may be able to use them to gain access to the 2nd story of your home.
3. Consider an Alarm or Monitoring System
An alarm system can be the single-most valuable deterrent to protect your home and have never been less expensive and easy to use. Alarm systems make it more difficult for thieves to get into your home without being caught. They can also provide valuable warnings of fires and basement flooding, leading to a greater peace of mind while you’re away. Many home insurance companies will offer a discount for a professionally monitored alarm system. Some key features to look for include:
- Door and window alarms on all easily-accessed entries
- Glass-break sensors
- Monitored fire and carbon monoxide detectors
- Online access to your security events
If you have an alarm system, putting a clearly visible sign in the yard or window can help deter thieves. Never write down the pass code and leave it near the alarm itself. If you must give the code to someone outside the immediately family, ask if your alarm can be enabled with a temporary code that is easier for them to remember and can be disabled or deleted when you return. Make sure you tell your insurance agent about any monitoring system you install as there may be credits available.
4. Know Thy Neighbors
Good neighbors make safe neighborhoods. Neighbors can easily keep an eye on one another’s property, as well as help the home look occupied while you are away. If your neighbors know you are away, make sure they have your contact information in case needed in an emergency.
Nothing takes the feeling of rest and relaxation away faster than coming home to the front door swinging in the breeze and finding your valuables gone. You may not think many burglaries happen in NH, but according to NH crime rates, NH experienced nearly 5,000 burglaries in 2013 according to a national crime report. Don’t let your home be part of that statistic. You deserve a great vacation and peace of mind.