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In the United States each year, there are more than 2 million home break-ins* - that's one burglary every 15 seconds!

vacation_001.jpgIf you plan on taking a vacation or going away for a few days, taking these simple steps to augment your home security system can provide you with the peace of mind you need to relax during your time off.

  • Make sure your home looks lived in while you're away. Arrange for your lawn to be mowed (during the season) and ask neighbors to watch for any unusual activity around your house. Suspend newspaper and mail delivery or have someone collect them. Make sure your trash cans are put out and brought back in at the right time.

  • Use timers to turn on a few lights at various times throughout the day and in the evening. Leaving one light on during your entire absence is an obvious sign that no one is home to turn it off. You'll want to close most of your window shades or curtains, but leave a few open on upper floors to let light shine through - making it appear that someone is home. Have motion-detector lights near each entry to your home, including the garage.

  • Put away toys, ladders or any other object that can be used to climb into second-story windows. Also, make sure any tall trees with branches near upper windows have been pruned.

  • Avoid hiding a key near doors. If you must hide a key, use a steel lock box with a combination that is specifically made for storing keys.

  • Be sure to lock all doors and windows. This may sound obvious, but more than 50 percent of thieves burglarize homes by walking right in.

  • Make sure your alarm system is armed. Again, this may sound like a no-brainer, but in your rush to leave for vacation, it can be easy to forget some of the "obvious" things. Also, remember to notify both your alarm company and the people on your contact list that you will be away.

* - According to the FBI's 2007 U.S. crime statistics.



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