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The best way to keep an eye on your home while you’re on vacation or summering in a cooler clime might be to install an electronic security system and subscribe to a monitoring service that call can call the police if doors and windows open while you’re gone.

But there are plenty of old-fashioned, common-sense steps you can take to make your empty home a little bit less prone to prowlers. Some tips:

  • Make your home look occupied, even when it’s not. Use timers to turn on lights at times when you normally would be home and turn radios and TVs on at various times during the day. Enlist your neighbors’ help. Ask them to pull trash cans to the curb on trash day and to pick up newspapers and fliers that people might drop in your yard. Tell them how long you’ll be gone so they will call the police if they see anyone trying to get into your house.
  • Ask the Post Office to stop mail delivery or forward your mail to your summer home.
  • Triple-check that you have locked all doors and windows, including the garage door.
  • If you have an extra car, leave it parked in the driveway. Or ask a neighbor to park there.
  • Rig lights to timers so they turn on and off at times when you normally would be home.
  • Leave your drapes open. Closed blinds are a signal that nobody’s home. They also can hide a burglar who gets inside.
  • Get someone to mow your lawn while you’re gone.
  •  Before you go, give the bushes near your house a good trimming. Shorten them so bad guys can’t hide behind them.
  •  Install motion detectors on your outdoor lights, or buy new ones with build-in sensors. Replace burned-out light bulbs.                                            


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