Ways to keep your home safe while on vacation

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — The FBI says a house is broken into every 15 seconds. And a lot of these burglaries happen when you’re on vacation. So before you leave this summer, make it look like someone is still home.

Whether you’re flying somewhere this summer or hitting the road, you’ll obviously be far from home. But it is important to give the impression that you are at home. So, security experts and insurance companies recommend posting burglar alarm signs outside even if you don’t have a security system.

You can also install fake security cameras that sell for as little as $20 to discourage burglars from targeting your home. “It comes down to being a deterrent,” Amy Harris told 3 On Your Side. She is a spokesperson for State Farm Insurance. “If that makes them think twice about hitting your house, we think that’s good advice. And for $20, why not?” she says.

She also recommends not posting on social media. You might be thrilled to take this seven-day cruise; don’t advertise it, which tells people you’re not home. “So one thing I always say is if you want to post or you have to post, or you want to document some vacation you’re on, do it when you get back. Say, ‘We had a great time on our trip,’ putting it in the past tense, so they know you’ve been before and you’re home,” Harris said.

She recommends turning off the geotagging feature on your phone, which exposes your exact location where the photo was taken. You also need to pull out your spare key that you think no one will ever find. Seasoned scammers know all the hiding places for spare keys. “A lot of people have a spare key that they have around their property, sometimes even under the doormat. It’s not a good idea,” 3 On Your Side told Harris. “Yeah, that’s an obvious place,” she replied. “And it’s a really good place for burglars to check. So if you must leave a key behind, we recommend that you give it to a neighbor, a trusted neighbor. So if you need to get someone into your home for any reason, you can call them and let them know.

Harris also recommends setting timers on lights, radios and TVs so they turn on automatically, making it look like someone is home. And finally, walk around your home day and night to look for vulnerabilities that a burglar might notice. “If your house is dark and a burglar walks outside, what would he see? Can they see inside or are there certain things you need to move around or are there certain lights you need to adjust. Just check that to see you’ve got all your bases covered,” Harris said.

A few other tips are to cut your grass before you leave and ask a neighbor or friend to park their car in your driveway. Remember, the goal is to make someone feel like home.

About Gene Schafer

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