8/14/2013 - Theft prevention tips for the most popular vacation month
Even though much of the summer is vacation season, polls indicate that perhaps the most popular month to take a holiday is August, seeing as how it's the swan song to the warm weather season. Thieves are aware of this fact, and as such, arrange to break into homes while families are away.
Several years ago, U.S. News and World Report interviewed Steve Houseworth, a program director for nonprofit counseling service Theft Talk about some of the best ways homeowners can keep their home protected from these invasions. His words of advice are still applicable today.
One of the most important areas of the home to guard is the garage, Houseworth advises, as it's usually attached to the residence. Homeowners should try and get into the habit of closing their garage doors whenever they're away from their property - even if it's only for an hour or two - to make this access point less attractive.
Be willing to employ some subterfuge
Houseworth also advises placing advertising in the yard, suggesting that the home is protected by a security system. While ideally families have these services, they can be costly. However, by placing a placard in the yard indicating that the home has a theft prevention system in place - even though it may not - thieves will likely avoid attempting to break in.
While it may sound simplistic, Houseworth also notes that homeowners should be sure to lock their doors and to go around to all the windows and secure those as well. And to add an extra layer of protection, they may want to get in touch with their local police department. While officers are no doubt busy, he points out that they're there to serve the public.
"I don't know of any police department that if you call them and ask them to do an inventory of your home to help harden it, they won't come out free and give you advice on how to improve your home," Houseworth told the news magazine.
Families should also be sure they have the appropriate homeowners insurance policy. As a general rule, most plans provide for theft should an individual gain access to the residence.