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Is Your Home an "Easy Target"
by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator

Is your home or apartment an "easy target" for burglars? When planning a vacation or weekend get away, don't forget to think about your home and what you are leaving. The feeling of coming home to find your house burglarized or vandalized is not a good one. Not only would there be financial expenses to make repairs and replace missing items; but also emotional reactions, such as fear, depression, vulnerability and many more.

As home burglaries happen in all areas, it is necessary to take all precautions to prevent being victimized. Most burglars are looking for homes that are "easy targets," those that are quickly entered and where they can work undetected. Weak locks, common in many homes, make the job easy.

If you plan ahead, you're home will not be an "easy target.Ē Some simple suggestions to increase security are:

  1. Lock all locks - windows and doors.
  2. Secure your garage door - consider disconnecting automatic openers to prevent accidental opening.
  3. Put one or two lights, in different parts of the house, on automatic timers.
  4. Stop deliveries of newspapers, mail or other items so they donít pile up on your doorstep or porch OR arrange for someone to pick them up.
  5. Arrange draperies, blinds, shades, etc. as if you are home. Don't close them all.
  6. Don't leave notes on the door saying you are gone.
  7. If you have an answering machine, don't leave a message saying you are out-of-town nor give the length of time you will be gone.
  8. Put valuable jewelry, coins, etc. in a safe or a place hidden from sight. Donít leave money laying around the home.
  9. Let your neighbors know you will be gone and for how long so they can keep an eye out for strange happenings.

A house sitter is another way to fool burglars. This is an especially good idea if you live in a rural, remote or secluded area. A house sitter can be a friend or neighbor. A house sitter can:

  1. pick up mail, and other things left at the door;
  2. mow the lawn or shovel the driveway, depending on the season;
  3. check to see the automatic timers on the lights are working and the light bulbs have not burnt out;
  4. park a car in the driveway; and
  5. check the house for any other problems, such as a freezer breaking down, storm damage, broken pipes, etc.

It only takes a few extra moments to secure your home before you take off on a trip or extended stay away from home. Make sure your home isn't an "easy target" for unwanted visitors. You will leave and return home feeling much better if your home is secured.

(This resource was updated May 28, 2006 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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