Across the U.S., many homes sit vacant for any number of reasons. It might be a vacation home that is used only periodically. It could be the home of a deceased relative, standing empty while probate is completed. It might be a home undergoing major repairs after fire or storm damage. Whatever the reason, vacant homes can often be targeted by thieves and vandals, who recognize an easy opportunity to break in unobserved.
If you are responsible for a vacant home, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure the property remains secure.
Secure the windows. When people leave a property, they often forget to check that the windows or sliding doors are locked tight. An unlocked window – particularly in an out-of-the-way place like a basement or sun porch – are often how vandals access empty properties. Be sure all windows are tightly locked.
Change the locks. If the home is not yours, you may be unsure if there are any duplicate keys that might have been left with neighbors, friends, or relatives. These keys could be misused by opportunists who see a chance to loot or damage property. Before you let the home stand empty, be sure to call a licensed locksmith to change all the locks on the property so you can be certain no one else can enter the premises.
Remove any valuables. If the house is awaiting sale or probate, it’s a good idea to remove all valuables from the home, including jewelry or family keepsakes, electronics such as televisions and computers and any vehicles or tools out of the garage.
Install an alarm system. A working alarm system is one of the best ways to ensure the vacant property remains secure. Most monthly monitoring plans have negligible costs — between $15 and $30 per month — so it’s worth installing a system while the property stands empty. Be sure you fully advertise the fact that the house is protected with a security system with window and door stickers and a sign out front.
Install motion-sensor lights. Many break-ins take place under the cover of darkness, so if the property isn’t well lit, consider installing motion-sensitive lights that will illuminate if an intruder is in the yard. The lights can discourage thieves and vandals who might be worried that neighbors will be alerted to lights coming on in an empty house. Inside the home, it’s a good idea to install timers on lamps so the house isn’t dark during the evening hours.
Take care of the yard. Nothing announces that a home is vacant like an unkempt yard. If the house is empty, continue to mow the lawn and water the garden so it appears to be occupied.
Consult with a licensed locksmith. To secure the home as much as possible, consult with a licensed locksmith who can guide you through vacant home security best practices. Connecticut-based All United Locksmith can help. All United Locksmith carries a wide variety of locks as well as security products at a competitive price. Our locksmiths are the best in the business, and we guarantee only the best service. Call us at 203-901-0011 or visit our website for more information.