Nothing heals the mind and body quite like a vacation does, which is why Americans don't let anything get in between them and some much-needed rest and relaxation.
Close to 70 percent of Americans have a vacation lined up for the summer, according to a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll. Money troubles can sometimes act as a barrier to getaways, but not this year, as more than half say that the economy won't get in the way of their leave of absence from the daily grind. An estimated 223 million consumers will travel between June and the end of August, based on estimates from Airlines for America.
But just as Americans are bent on keeping their travel itinerary plans intact, the same can be said for burglars, as thieves are looking to take advantage of vacationing families by breaking into their properties.
The numbers paint an unpleasant picture for just how pervasive a problem home break-ins are, particularly during the summertime when vacation travel reaches its height. According to the latest estimates from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2.1 million burglaries take place annually. Of these, roughly two-thirds affect homeowners.
Furthermore, as you might expect, they tend to be more common when the weather warms up. FBI statistics reveal that there's usually a 10 percent increase in burglaries in July and August.
Jeanne Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute, indicated that homeowners who don't take home security seriously are putting their livelihood in danger.
"Once in your home, a burglar can easily steal computer equipment, televisions, CD and DVD players, as well as jewelry and other valuable items," Salvatore explained. "In fact, the average dollar loss per burglary is over $1,700."
Based on an analysis of home theft insurance claims, electronics tend to be the types of belongings that are most frequently stolen by thieves, items such as cameras, high-definition televisions, computers, mobile devices, and accessory equipment.
Similar to identity theft, break-ins can't be prevented entirely. So long as a home has valuables, there will always be the risk of items being stolen.
There are several things that you can do while on vacation, though, to make it less likely your privacy is violated. Here are a few suggestions:
Make your home look lived in
Police officers and home security experts will tell you that if your home looks like it's occupied, thieves are less likely to take a chance and risk being caught. That's why if you're going away for awhile, make it appear like there's always someone at home. You can do this by having a neighbor park one of their unused cars in the driveway, or picking up the mail regularly to bring inside. You may also want to purchase timers for your outside and interior lights so that they turn on and off at different times of the day or evening.
Make it hard to break in
High-quality door locks alone can't keep a thief out of your home, but they can surely make it more difficult and time consuming. Prior to leaving on vacation, make sure you use the doorknob lock as well as the dead bolt for the doors and lock all the windows as well. By purchasing a high-quality locking device, you may even be able to save money on your homeowners insurance policy, according to the III.
You may not be able to put all your valuables under lock and key, but for sentimental items or those that are pricey, consider buying a lockbox or safety vault to ensure they are protected. In rooms where there are a lot of electronics, you may want to install a latching lock so it's inaccessible, or at the very least harder to break into.
Don't broadcast your vacation plans
Social media is your window to the world of your friends, relatives, and probably several other people you've come into contact with at one point or another. If you frequently update your status on Facebook or Twitter, make sure that you are somewhat vague about your vacation plans so strangers aren't completely filled in on what your plans are. You never know who's reading. The only people you should tell are those who are close to you and that you trust.
Invest in a home security system
Thanks to the advancement of technology, alarm systems are more affordable today and effective not only at warding off thieves, but also helping authorities catch criminals who rifle through things that don't belong to them. Here, too, you may be able to save money with your homeowners insurance provider.
Vacation is not only great for the fun part of it, but also to relieve stress. By implementing these security measures, you can keep your mind on your recuperation, not the threat of a home invasion.