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Home & Garden

Home security tips

photo: vistavision / flickr

Summer is the biggest season for burglaries. August is a particularly favorite month to vacation, while the children are on summer break before school begins in the fall. Homeowners tend to leave windows and patio doors open when they leave. In more than 40 percent of break-ins, thieves simply enter through an unlocked door or window. The odds of being burglarized a second time are higher because the thief will assume that what was stolen has been replaced. Also the thief will likely remember those places that were easy targets and possibly hit again.

Burglars generally avoid delays, noise, or other attention-getting risks. However, alarms are only one part of an effective home security plan — most alarms sound only after someone has entered the home. The following security measures can help your peace of mind while you are traveling to ensure you enjoy your holiday:

  • Properly illuminate porches, entrance areas, and yards, both front and back.
  • Trim shrubbery that hides doors or windows to lower than eye level.
  • Install deadbolt locks on your doors. Make sure each has at least a one-inch draw into the doorjamb.
  • Place a metal bar or wooden rod in the track of sliding doors. Install a pin to prevent the door from being lifted off the track.
  • When working or entertaining in the yard, only open doors or windows within your view.
  • Don’t leave a ladder in the yard that a burglar can use to enter an open second-story window.
  • Close and lock basement and main level windows and doors prior to retiring at night.
  • If you have electrically operated garage doors, either disconnect or bolt the doors before you leave for extended periods. Always lock the door to an attached garage. Don’t rely on your automatic garage door opener for security.
  • When you travel, set timers to turn lights on and off at different times in various areas of your home.
  • Never leave clues, such as a pile of newspapers or accumulating mail, indicating that you are away on a trip. If you don’t have a trusted friend or neighbor to bring these in daily, be sure to put a hold on deliveries.
  • Consider having someone house-sit for you so there is visible activity in your home.
  • Don’t leave messages on an answering machine stating you’ll be away for a while and will return calls when you return.
  • If you will be gone for an extended period of time, be sure to have someone water plants visible from the street. Neglected plants shout, “No one is home!”
  • Organize a community watch program to protect your neighborhood.

Protect your home and enjoy your summer holiday!

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Julia Strzesieski is the marketing coordinator of Cole Hardware and can be reached at julia@marinatimes.com.