BBB ON HOMES Don’t forget home security during the season
During the holiday season, travel is common as people visit family and friends, or check out exciting vacation spots. Unfortunately, with many people traveling or busy with holiday shopping, burglaries tend to rise at this time of year, too.
In addition to porch pirates stealing packages, burglars are on the lookout for vacant homes, so the Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas is offering tips to protect your home while you are away:
Be discreet about who you share your vacation details with. Be careful about posting your vacation plans and destination on social media, as burglars can use the information to find out when you will be away. If you do share information, be aware of your privacy settings and who is able to view your posts. Letting others know your house will be empty could be enough to attract unwanted attention, so be careful about broadcasting your travel plans.
Consider installing a home security system. A home security system, a security camera, or even just exterior lights that run on timers can increase security. Research home security installers at BBBHouston.org.
Lock up. Of course this seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget things like windows and outside doors. If you keep a window unlocked to allow your pet easy access, or never bother to turn the deadbolt on your kitchen door, now is the time to start. Don’t make it easy for burglars to gain access.
Consider a house sitter or pet sitter. The best way to make sure your house is safe is to have someone you trust stay over, but if that is not possible, you may ask a relative or trusted friend or neighbor to water plants, feed pets and pick up the newspaper.
Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors periodically. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be checked regularly and batteries replaced annually. This is particularly important if pets remain in your home while you are on vacation. If an alarm goes off, you want someone to hear it and attend to your pets.
Hold your mail. If you’re leaving for more than a couple days and don’t have anyone to get your mail, call your local post office to stop mail delivery until you get back.
Unplug electronics. Disconnecting the power to some of your electronics, like your computer, coffee pot and television can save your money while you’re gone and eliminate the worry that you’ve accidentally left them on by mistake. Turning off your garage door opener is also an effective way to keep thieves from opening it with a universal remote.
Keep hedges and bushes around your home trimmed. This will prevent burglars from having a place to hide around your home. Consider hiring someone to take care of the landscaping chores in your absence. It will help make your home look as if it’s being kept up.
Make your home look lived in. To help create the illusion that the residence is still occupied, invest in timers that turn on the interior lights for a few hours every evening.The Better Business Bureau is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Visit www.bbbhouston.org or call 713-868-9500. Leah Napoliello is senior director of Investigative Services with the BBB of Greater Houston and South Texas. Send questions to Leah Napoliello, Better Business Bureau, 1333 West Loop South, Suite 1200, Houston, TX 77027, or e-mail email@example.com. Include your mailing address and phone number.