Home security tips as vacations beckon
Updated: August 22, 2012 4:23PM
LAKE BLUFF — If you are one of the many thousands of people planning on a vacation this month, don’t forget to put home security on your to-do list.
Veteran security expert Charlie Howe of Howe Security in Lake Bluff says too many people head out for vacation with too little thought for the security of the home and belongings left behind.
“Don’t leave things to chance. Give security some thought before you leave to lessen the chance you’ll come home to a problem,” said Howe, noting that there have been several burglaries of money and jewelry in the northern suburbs in the past week alone.
Howe recommends having someone you trust check on your home once a day.
“It’s very important to make the house looked lived in. You want to give the impression that there is someone coming and going,” said Howe.
Howe’s staff watches over 450 north suburban homes, from large mansions to small townhomes. Regardless of the size of home, one common problem he sees is newspapers piling up in driveways. He recommends cancelling newspaper deliveries when you are gone, unless you have someone who will pick them up about the same time you do each day. Delayed pick-up of newspapers can be as telling to burglars as several days of newspapers.
Other security tips from AAA and related experts include:
• Have a neighbor pick up mail or other scheduled deliveries.
• Don’t broadcast the fact you’ll be away on social media sites, or home voicemails.
• Don’t hide your keys on your property.
• Discourage burglars by using deadbolts, window locks, and bars in tracks of sliding doors and windows. Make sure all trees and shrubs are trimmed near doors and windows where intruders might hide easily. Consider adding exterior lights, especially motion sensor lights.
• Cut your lawn before you leave, and if gone a long time, make sure someone else cuts it when you are away.
• Hide jewelry and other valuables, or move them to a safe deposit box. Inventory valuables left behind, writing down serial numbers, too. Take pictures and make sure your homeowners insurance is up to date before you leave town.
• Let your local police department know you will be away and where you can be contacted in an emergency.
• Let your neighbors know your departure and arrival-home dates, and if anyone will be in your home. Make sure they have your contact and
• Ask someone responsible to check the house periodically; have them open and close varied blinds, and leave on different lights. Use timers on lights, too.
• According to Howe, “Whoever watches your home, make sure they take the job seriously and know what to do in an emergency. Taking the time to secure things before you go increases the chance you’ll return to everything as you left it.”
Julie Morse is a Realtor.