OKLAHOMA CITY – As the temperatures heat up across the state, many families may be counting down the days until their next vacation.
However, the fun memories of a vacation can be dampened when families return home to find that they were targeted by thieves.
Officials say July and August tend to have the highest rates of residential burglaries nationally.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, burglars often target empty homes and may be watching for signs of residents packing their things to leave for extended periods.
“Before you head out for vacation, take a few moments to safeguard your home and keep your possessions safe,” says Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma spokesperson. “Spend at least as much time focusing on protecting the home you’ll return to as you do packing your suitcase.”
AAA Oklahoma says there are a few simple things you can do to keep your home safe while you’re away.
- Create or update a home inventory– In case you do need to file a claim, preparing a home inventory of your possessions beforehand will make the process easier. Grab your smartphone, camera or pen and paper and take a tour of your home. Experts say you should record everything you’d want to replace. Collect and note model and serial numbers, along with copies of sales receipts. Once you’re done, you should store your list either online or in a safe deposit box.
- Make it time-consuming to break into your home– Researchers say if burglars think it will take more than four or five minutes to break into a home, they will move on. Check outside doors and frames to ensure they are strong and made of metal or thick hardwood. Use dead-bolts on windows and doors, which can slow burglars down or deter them entirely.
- Invest in an effective burglar alarm – The alarm system should call police, fire and other emergency services when triggered.
- Disconnect computers and other electronic devices – Disconnecting devices from the internet will prevent hackers from gaining access to your information. Also, make sure personal information on your computer is difficult to access.
- Keep valuables locked up and out of sight – Expensive jewelry, electronic devices and other high-value items should be hidden from plain view and placed in lock boxes.
- Make your home look inhabited – Use timers to turn on and off lights, don’t let packages stay on your porch for long, and arrange to have your mail picked up or held by the post office. An unkempt lawn is also an indicator to burglars that you are away.
- Ask a dependable neighbor, friend or family member to keep an eye on your home.
- Don’t post on social– Someone may see your post on social media and target your home while you’re away. Avoid discussing your vacation plans in public places.