Stop a home burglary while you're gone

A security guard patrolling the neighborhood

By using these theft-prevention tips to protect your home and possessions, you and your family will have extra peace of mind, whether you're away for a day or on vacation.

Make your home look "lived in" even when you're not there:

  • Have a trusted neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers.
  • Arrange for someone to mow your lawn or shovel snow.
  • Ask a neighbor to park a car in your driveway while you're gone.
  • Use timed switches on your lights, TV and stereo. Look for timers that turn on and off randomly.
  • Never advertise your absence by taping a note to your door or announcing it on your answering machine/voice mail.
  • Turn your telephone ringer down or off. This way a burglar is less likely to hear the ringing of unanswered calls and realize no one is home.
  • You can add to the security of your lighting system and cut your electric bill by installing a motion detector on outside lights. This will activate your lights when anyone comes within range of the unit's motion sensor.

Follow these tips from law enforcement officials:

  • Join a Neighborhood Watch group. Most police departments have officers who will help you start a program. Neighbors can help watch your home when you're gone.
  • Keep valuable items in your safe deposit box, such as stocks and bonds, duplicate copies of your will, stamp and coin collections and jewelry you don't frequently wear.
  • Give parking lot attendants and mechanics your ignition key only, not your house key. Don't carry an identification tag on your key ring. This could help a would-be thief easily identify your home and vehicle.
  • Consider installing an alarm system for an extra level of protection. You have a variety of choices — from do-it-yourself kits that trigger a siren or lights to professionally installed systems connected to a police station or monitoring service. Post signs in your windows showing you have a security system.
  • Lock your doors and windows when you leave, whether you'll be gone a few minutes or a few days.
  • Avoid leaving an extra "hidden" key outside your home, such as under the doormat or in a mailbox or planter. To make sure you always get in, leave a duplicate set of house keys with a trusted friend or neighbor.

Related articles

You may also like

A smiling child in car seat.

Keeping your most precious cargo safe on the road

There are enough things to worry about when taking care of children, making sure they are safe in the car should be second nature...

A toy car that has crashed.

Distracted driving — Not worth the risk

This story has a happy ending because the most serious consequence was that my van was totaled. But statistics tell us that things could have been much worse. Here are some scary facts...

A car thief attempting to break into a car.

Car theft prevention tips

Cars are stolen all the time and at any time. It's important to make sure yours is less susceptible to theft. Use our car theft prevention tips...