You think it can’t happen. But it did to Caroline. She’d spent a week on a green cruise to the Caribbean, enjoying herself and being gentle to the environment. She debarked from the ship, found her luggage, passing quickly through customs.
Everything was going great until she stopped for coffee. Her debit card was declined. Don’t let this happen to you. Be sure to learn how to prevent burglaries while away.
Don’t come home from a trip to find a burglary
Still, she didn’t worry too much. Caroline knew that sometimes banks freeze debit cards once there is an international transaction. She used a credit card to get her latte and continued home. When she got back to her house, she saw the garage door up. She knew that meant something was wrong.
Her biggest mistake now was that she entered the home before the police did. Make sure you call 911 and wait for them to arrive. Follow their instructions before entering your home. Do not enter your home without consulting with the police.
Her house had been robbed. At first glance, she didn’t think too much was gone. Her big-screen television was missing. So was her desktop computer and a printer. She ran upstairs to check her jewelry. When she saw it was still there, she breathed a sigh of relief. She shouldn’t have.
Despite the big clue she’d gotten at the coffeehouse, she overlooked one more thing that was missing: Her bank statement. The criminal had grabbed it and used the number to clean out her account in a hurry.
Things worked out as well as possible for Caroline: She’d paid extra to her bank for protection, so her account was restored. Her home insurance covered the stolen items. But she couldn’t help thinking whether she could have done more to deter the break-in from the start. Turns out she could have.
Facts about home break-ins
Some hard numbers about home break-ins: Every 13 seconds in the U.S., there is one, according to the FBI. Something else you should know – few are the work of professional burglars. That’s because the average loss is $2,185 per incident, far too small for the criminal looking for a big score.
Caroline could have taken a number of steps to bolster her home from the burglar, who still hasn’t been caught. Only about 13% of break-ins ever are, according to the FBI.
How to prevent burglaries while away
Before you leave to go abroad, consider taking these measures:
This is the best case. If you invest in a monitored security system, your home is 300% less likely to be broken into. Sometimes the sign alone that the house is protected by a system is enough to scare off thieves. One extra benefit: Many home insurers provide discounts to homeowners who have monitored security.
Have the right kind of locks, and use them
The most common way for a criminal to enter your home is through the front door. Deadbolt locks on sturdy doors are a great deterrent. So are locked windows. And remember Caroline’s garage door? Nearly 10% of criminals gain entry to a house through the garage. Keep the garage door and the door leading from the garage to the house locked at all times.
Ask a friend to get the mail for you and to collect any circulars left in your mailbox. Nothing says I’m not home like a stuffed mailbox.
Lights, radio on a timer
You don’t want to leave your lights and radio on all the time to create the illusion someone is home – that would waste energy. So keep them on a timer, so you can minimize energy use.
Don’t post on Social media
This is another big deal. Don’t constantly post photos and written updates from your trip – it’s a dead giveaway that you’re not home. And you never know these days whether your posts are more public than you want them to be.
On Facebook, just one person “liking” your post opens the door to your non-Facebook friends from learning you are on vacation. People’s “likes” show up on the side of other users’ Facebook screens, whether they are your friends or not.
Just wait until you get home; then you post photos, blog entries, and anything else to make your friends jealous of your trip.
You shouldn’t have to worry constantly about burglars while you’re abroad for a vacation or business trip. Taking these simple steps about how to prevent burglaries while away can allow you to relax while you are simply out of town or even out of the country without worrying you’ll come home to a mess like Caroline’s. Luckily, she and her family were safe. TSA Approved Luggage Locks