Jan 24, 2013 17:36 - Regina Falkowski | 1,292 views
Having a vacation home is a great retreat from the stresses of daily life. There’s nothing like different home ground waiting to welcome you at the end of a harried work week (or, if you’re lucky, for the entire summer). However, vacation homes can also welcome thieves and squatters once you head back to the grind of daily life. Here are some precautions you can take to keep the bad guys at bay:
- Light it Up: Put interior and exterior lights on timers. This isn’t necessarily to make the house look lived in, just about everyone in the neighborhood will realize the place is empty but lights do deny thieves the cover of darkness. Many criminals will shy away if they think people will be able to see them do their dirty work. Avoid using standard incandescent bulbs; they’re bright, but they won’t make it through an entire off-season. Go for long-lasting compact fluorescent (curly) bulbs or LED lights instead.
- Install a Security System: Companies like LifeShield provide different options for protecting your vacation home. Be sure to post signs to warn miscreants that a security system is in place; chances are, they’ll just keep going rather than attempt to disarm a security system. Visible cameras are also a good idea no thief wants his face on an evidence tape.
- Keep up the Lawn: Hire landscapers and a snow removal services. It lets thieves and squatters know someone will be coming around the property on a regular basis to do the work.
- Stop all Deliveries: Nothing tells a crook no one’s been home in ages like piles of old papers in the driveway and mail crammed into the box.
- Don’t Post Signs: Be careful when advertising your home for rent. Crooks and squatters look for signs to tell them no one is occupying a property. Also, don’t give information about furnishings to anyone who doesn’t need to know.
- Recover Spare Keys: Leaving spare keys outside under mats or in flower pots is always a dangerous practice, but even more so when you’re going to be gone for a long time. Make sure to collect all of your keys so a thief won’t find anything if he checks.
- Finally, Double-Check Everything: No matter how sure you are that you’ve locked every door and window, check again. Why risk that something was either left open or didn’t latch properly? Even if it only happens once every 10 years, it only takes once for an opportunistic thief to find the error and walk (or crawl) right in.
- Leave Social Media Out of It: This final tip comes from the Philadelphia Police Department blog. Be wary when posting about your vacation on Facebook or any other social media site.
With these tips, you should be able to return to the real world without worrying too much about criminals setting up shop in your home-away-from-home. Now it’s back to the grind!
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