Planning a summer vacation? Burglars rarely take more than 20 minutes to observe a property before deciding whether or not to rob it. Making them think someone is home is a lot less difficult than you may think.
• Leave a few lights on in rooms that face the street. Burglars rarely investigate a house two or three nights in a row to see whether there’s a pattern to interior lighting. For them, it’s safer to move on to a house that has all the lights off.
• Leave an inaccessible, but visible, window partially open if you are traveling in warm seasons. This suggests that someone is home.
• Install exterior lights that go on automatically when it gets dark. Put them over each door, and trim shrubs around the doorways to make the entries less inviting to burglars.
• Leave a car in the driveway. Just as house robbers don’t concentrate on interior lights, neither do they study a property over several days to determine whether or not a car has been moved.
• Ask a neighbor to collect newspapers, mail, trash bins and any debris that winds up in your yard. If you plan to be away for a couple of weeks have your lawn mowed.
• Post a clear sign announcing that the house is protected by an alarm system. If you don’t have an alarm system, don’t post a generic sign. Burglars know the alarm companies.
• Notify police when you’re going away. In many communities, they will make extra patrols.
• Have a neighbour or family member drop by to clear away any items that get left your doorstep or walkway. Free community papers piling up is a clear sign that nobody's home.
• Have your neighbour put one of their trash cans on your property for pick-up. On garbage pick-up days, the homes without trash can sometimes be a first alert for burglars that the home might be one to check out later in the day.