How to protect your home while traveling

  • Published
  • By Nick Zallas
  • Installation Antiterrorism Officer
We're right in the middle of the summer season and it's a perfect time to vacation. However, take a few minutes to read some suggestions on how to protect your home while away.

Situational awareness is critical whether at home or traveling. Take advantage of neighborhood watch programs to learn more about the amount and scope of crime happening in your neighborhood. Contact the Police Department to understand what crime is happening in the area. It's also a good idea to let them know that you will be away so patrols can be increased near your home.

Additionally, it is very important to have good, pick-resistant dead bolt locks on every exterior door. Dead bolts are keyed from the outside and are latched from the inside. Remember to always lock the doors when outside the home. More than one-third of all burglaries happen because people simply forget to lock the doors.

Investing in a good alarm system is also a good suggestion. However, remember to turn it on before going on vacation.

With alarm systems, it's suggested that a monthly test is conducted to ensure it is operating properly. Ideally, select an alarm system that features fire, rescue and police notification buttons that can be activated in a panic mode. Having a wireless connection to the central monitoring station is a definite plus in the event of a power outage.

Before leaving on vacation, provide a trusted neighbor an itinerary and provide them with emergency contact numbers.

Remember to cancel the newspaper and hold mail if going away for an extended period of time. Don't forget to have someone maintain yard work while away.

Another good suggestion is to unplug the electric garage door opener. Be sure to close garage doors and lock the door pins as well.

Lighting is also very important when trying to protect a house, whether on vacation or not.

Good exterior perimeter lighting is critical to protecting a home. Don't forget to put timers on interior lights in a few rooms; stagger the run times and set them up a few days in advance to make sure they have been set correctly. Adding a timer to a radio or TV set is also a good idea to protect a home. The goal is to give the appearance of normalcy while away so people think the house is occupied.

For further information on protecting a home while away, contact the Antiterrorism Office at 781-225-1323.