Summer is upon us, and with it come trips and vacations away from home. The FBI’s 2010 Uniform Crime Report shows that July and August are the worst months for home break-ins. To help residents keep their homes safe this summer, Comcast recently held a “Chamber Connections” event with the Clinton Police Department and Old Saybrook and Clinton Chambers of Commerce focused on home security. During the event, held at Comcast’s newly-opened interactive Xfinity Customer Service Center in Clinton, Corporal Craig Lee from the Clinton Police Department and Doug Bassett, Comcast's National Senior Director of Xfinity Home and a home security industry expert with 20+ years of experience, shared 10 tips for keeping your home safe and secure during summer vacation.
1. Secure your doors and windows. Close and lock your windows before you leave for vacation. Install dead-bolt locks instead of spring-latch locks, especially on your front door, where most thieves enter. If you’ve moved into a new home or recently given your keys out to contractors to work in your home, be sure to change your locks. Keep your home locked at all times, even if leaving the house for a short period.
2. Make your house look lived in. Ensure your home looks occupied in your absence by using timers and today’s new wave of home automation devices to turn lights, radios and televisions on and off at appropriate times. Ask a friend or neighbor to watch your residence while you are away and bring in the mail, place garbage cans on the curb on trash pickup day and mow the lawn.
3. Keep your absence hush hush. Avoid announcing your vacation plans on answering machine messages and social media. Don’t leave notes for service providers (like a house cleaner or pet sitter) on the door.
4. Shed some light on the subject. Install motion detector lights in your driveway. If the entrances to your home are dark, install lighting with an infrared camera.
5. Increase visibility at entry ways. Trim trees and shrubs that could provide cover for a would-be burglar at windows and doors.
6. Test your alarms. Test your smoke and burglar alarms before leaving on vacation, and replace any old batteries.
7. Alert your neighbors and local law enforcement. Ask local police to place your home on their vacation checklist. Leave your vacation address and telephone number with a neighbor so you can be reached in case of an emergency.
8. Keep your identity safe. Do not list your full name on your mailbox– use only your first initial and last name. And shred (vs. simply discarding) any documentation with personal information on it.
9. Don’t hide your keys outside. Instead, give an extra set of keys to a friend or neighbor.
10. Arm your home. Use a state-of-the-art home security and automation system, like Comcast’s Xfinity Home, to monitor and protect your house while you’re away. With Xfinity Home, customers can turn lights on and off remotely, get a text alert if a door opens and watch live footage of home from a PC or Smartphone.