By Frank Fourchalk, Owner of White Rock Lock And Key Ltd

Preventing burglaries to your home while on vacation doesn’t have to be a costly venture. In most cases, it’s more common sense than an expense.

The most important thing to remember is to keep your home looking the same while you’re away. Although it’s not necessary to keep a light on in every room, keeping lights on in the rooms your family usually occupies is a must.

Some other home safety tips are…..

1. Light timers can be set to come on and off at desired intervals and can also be used on appliances such as televisions or radios to further create the illusion of occupancy.

2. Motion Lighting is always an asset for the exterior of your home. Here’s a good tip; make sure you install the motion lighting high enough so the bulbs can’t be unscrewed by an intruder.

3. Secure Windows and Doors: Although it may sound very elementary, you’d be surprised how many illegal entries happen during summer vacation because homeowners forgot to properly secure their windows and doors before heading to the summer cabin.

And don’t forget to secure sliding glass doors and windows with an auxiliary lock or piece of wood dowel (round) in the track to prevent an intruder from “force sliding” the window or door open.

To prevent a burglar from lifting the door or window out of its track, install metal (self tapping) screws in the top track. This will eliminate the space between the top of the door or window and the frame. If crooks try to lift the door or window out of its track with the screws installed, the frame will hit up against the screw heads preventing the glass frame from being lifted out of its track.

4. Install Good Quality Deadbolts:Every exterior door including the inside garage door leading to your home should have a deadbolt lock with a one-inch throw (the size of the bolt when extended).

5. Install High Security Strike Plates: Make sure the strike plate (i.e. the plate that accepts the throw when the door is shut) is attached with three-inch screws to the frame side of the door.

6. Unplug Electric Overhead Garage Door Opener: Pull the plug on your electric overhead garage-door opener. This will disable the unit and prevent anyone from tampering with the frequencies to gain entry.

 7. Lock Up Tools and Ladders: Always lock up ladders, tools or any objects that could aid in a burglary.

8. Keep Sight Lines Open: Make sure you trim all shrubbery back from your home to keep the sight lines open.

9. Hide Your Valuables: Make sure your valuables (e.g. electronics and artwork) are not visible from the street. It’s always a good idea to partially close curtains and blinds to ensure nobody can look into your home.

10. Notify a Trusted Neighbour  or Family Member of Your Absence:. Let them know the dates you’ll be away and leave them a number where you can be reached in case of emergency. Also leaving a house key with a trusted neighbour, relative or friend might be an option. Make sure the one who has access to your home will know what to do in case of an emergency.

11. Have a Trusted Person Pick Up Your Mail: Have this trusted person pick up your mail daily and cut your lawn. Want the lived-in look? Why not offer up your driveway as extra parking space for your neighbours while you’re away?

12. Dont Broadcast Your Absense: You never know whos listening, so dont broadcast your vacation plans to your neighbours. And dont post vacation plans on social media.

13. Turn Down Your Phone Ringer: And finally, turn down your phone ringer and call-forward your telephone number to your cell phone or a trusted family member or friend during your absence.

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