If you leave your vacation home or second home unoccupied for extended periods, you could have some uninvited guests if you don’t take proper precautions.
In the Tahoe-Truckee resort area of Nevada, a bold gang of burglars used a vacant vacation home as their base of operations to conduct burglaries of other vacant homes in the area.
Colorado’s Park and Jefferson counties have been plagued by burglars pilfering mail and breaking into empty second homes in out-of-the way mountain locations.
And in Standish, Maine, after a rash of break-ins, resort area residents took matters into their own hands and formed a special Volunteers in Police Service program to keep an eye on lakeside homes closed for the winter.
Empty second and vacation homes are an easy target for burglars who don’t want an audience when they break in. Don’t set the stage for a criminal performance.
• Before you leave, check that all doors and windows are locked and secured and close window coverings. Do not leave valuables near windows or where they will be easily visible from the outside.
• Tell your property manager or a trusted neighbor when you will be away and when you will return. Give them emergency telephone numbers so they can reach you quickly.
• Hire or ask your neighbor to shovel the driveway and walkway after it snows or to mow the lawn after the grass grows. Consider forming a Neighborhood Watch group.
• Stop newspaper, mail and other delivery services.
• Install motion sensor exterior lighting, put interior lighting on a timer. Likewise put a radio or TV on a timer. Tune the radio or TV to a news or talk show station.
• Install an alarm system connected to a monitoring service and you may qualify for homeowners insurance discount.
• In “Protecting Your Home Away from Home” ThinkGlink.com advises you to be sure you have adequate insurance coverage to pay claims for burglaries.
• Be-Safe.Org also offers a learning module “Secure Your Vacation Home” as a step-by-step introduction to vacation home security.