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Ways to keep your house secure while on vacation

Before you leave this summer, make it look like someone is always home.
Updated: May. 10, 2022 at 5:15 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — The FBI says a home is burglarized every 15 seconds. And many of those burglaries happen when you’re away on vacation. So, before you leave this summer, make it look like someone is always home.

Whether you’re flying somewhere this summer or hitting the road, you’ll obviously be away from your home. But it’s important to make it look like you are home. So, security experts and insurance carriers recommend that you post 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 in order to discourage burglars from targeting your home. “It goes back to being a deterrent,” Amy Harris told 3 On Your Side. She’s a spokeswoman for State Farm Insurance. “If it causes them to think twice about hitting your house, we think it’s a good tip. And for $20, why not?” she said.

She also recommends not posting on social media. You may be excited about taking that seven-day cruise; just 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 a certain vacation you are on, do it when you get back. Say, ‘We had a great time on our trip,’ making it past tense, so they know you already went and you’re home,” Harris said.

She recommends turning off the geotagging feature on your phone, which exposes your exact location where the picture was taken. You should also remove your spare key that you think no one will ever find. Seasoned crooks know all the hiding places for spare keys. “A lot of folks 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, it’s an obvious spot,” she replied. “And it’s really a good spot where burglars would check. So, if you have to leave a key behind, we recommend leaving it with a neighbor, a trusted neighbor. So, if you have to get someone into your home for some reason, you can call them and let them know.”

Harris also recommends setting timers on lights, radios, and televisions so they’ll automatically turn on, making it look like someone is home. And finally, walk around your house during the day and night to look for any vulnerabilities that a burglar might notice. “If your house is dark and a burglar is walking around outside, what would they 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 that you’re covering all your bases,” said Harris.

A couple more tips are to cut your grass before you leave and have a neighbor or friend park their car in your driveway. Remember, the goal is to make it look like someone is home.