How to protect against a break-in while on summer vacation

By far, the most common threat to our home while we are away on summer holidays is burglary.

According to Patrice De Luca from Reliance Protectron Security Services, the first step in burglary prevention is gaining an understanding of who commits these crimes and why.

“The majority of home and apartment burglaries occur during the daytime when most people are away on holidays, at work or at school,” De Luca explained. “Burglaries also occur at night when there are obvious signs that residents are away.”

Most home burglars are young males looking for things that are small, expensive, and can easily be converted to cash. Items like cash, jewelry, guns, watches, laptop computers, and other small electronic devices are high on the list. Quick cash is needed for living expenses and drugs. Although home burglaries may seem random in occurrence, they actually involve a careful selection process.

“This selection process is simple,” De Luca added. “They choose an unoccupied home with the easiest access, the greatest amount of cover, and with the best escape routes.”

According to Bell Canada, ninety-seven per cent of calls to a home security service are false alarms. But the three per cent that are real break-ins can wreak havoc with your peace of mind.

To make your home unattractive to potential burglars…

• The first step is to harden the target, or make your home more difficult to enter. Burglars will simply bypass your home if it requires too much effort or requires more skill and tools than they possess. Most burglars enter via the front, back, or garage doors. Burglars know to look inside your car for keys and other valuables so keep it locked, even inside your garage.

• When vacationing, leave a car in your driveway or arrange for a neighbor to keep a car there and move it around from time to time. Have someone mow your lawn, rake leaves and pick up your mail while you're away.

• Home security systems play a crucial role in a home security plan and are very effective, if used properly, especially when monitored. You could even have video monitoring and receive alerts to view the comings and goings of cleaning staff or house sitters.

• Don’t advertise your valuables. Leaving an expensive television or computer in front of a window may be convenient for a room’s layout, but a potential burglar just needs to peer into your window to see something that they might consider worth stealing. Keep your valuables away from windows or other areas where they may be visible from the outside.

• An important factor for potential burglars is the line of sight between the home they’re breaking into and other homes in the area. If you have hedges or other greenery obscuring the view around your home, consider trimming them back so that a neighbour may be able to see any unusual activity.

Be sure to protect your home against break-ins while you’re on vacation.