July 07, 2017

Protect your home against summer time break-ins

Burglars love summer time but not for the same reasons you do

Summer is a peak time for home break-ins with people away on vacation or doors and windows being left opened or unlocked while you’re busy in the garden or spending the day outdoors. Here’s how to protect your home:

1. Don’t make your home look tempting for thieves

  • Close your doors and windows. Keep entrances and windows leading into your home, garage or shed closed, even when you’re at home. If you need to open windows, only use top floor windows facing the street. Lock doors whenever you leave your home.
  • Make the house look occupied. Leave blinds or curtains open in their usual position. Use light timers, or timers for the TV or a radio so that they go on and off at different times. If you’re going away on vacation, arrange to have your lawn mowed and mail and newspapers picked up.
  • Avoid publicizing your vacation plans on social media. You don’t know everyone who can see your posts. Wait until you’ve returned home to post your vacation photos.
  • Think about where you leave the keys. Don’t leave your garage-door opener in the car when it’s parked, especially if it’s going to be parked for several days, such as at the airport or in your driveway. If you’re leaving your car at home while you’re on vacation, ensure that your car keys are hidden away.

2. Light is a burglar’s enemy — install exterior lights and motion detectors. Place lights and motion detectors at entry ways and mount them out of easy reach so burglars can’t move or destroy them.

3. Make it time-consuming to break into your home

    Research shows that if it takes more than four or five minutes to break into a home, burglars will give up. If your doors and windows, along with their frames look strong, thieves will walk away.

  • Use good-quality locks. Most thieves know the quality of locks and will skip a house when they see a high-quality lock has been used.
  • Dead-bolting window and door locks can slow a burglar down. You may also be eligible for certain discounts off your home insurance for installing these devices.
  • Make sure you have strong exterior and garage doors, including door frames. Even the best lock will not deter a burglar if it is installed in a weak door. Outside doors and frames should be made of metal or solid wood, fit in its frame securely and include a peep hole so you can see who is on the other side. Install a heavy duty strike plate for added protection.

4. Make it noisy to break into your home—invest in a security alarm. The most effective systems ring at an outside service, which alerts a monitoring service to call the police, fire and other emergency services. Certain alarm systems could also provide substantial discounts off your home insurance. Check with your insurance advisor for details.

5. Keep valuables under lock and key and well hidden. Don’t leave personal documents, identification, credit cards, gift cards or cash in obvious places such as your home office, a desk or kitchen drawer. Expensive jewellery should also be hidden somewhere other than the bedroom. Place these items in a lock box or safe somewhere else in the house.

6. Get to know your neighbours and be each other eyes and ears. Consider introducing neighborhood programs like block watch which can deter thieves and reduce property crime.

7. Ensure you have adequate home insurance. Whether you own or rent a home or condo or live in an apartment, it’s important that you have enough coverage to protect your belongings if they’re stolen or cover your home from damage caused by a break in.

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