From Consumer Reports 7/8/14
4 easy ways to keep your home secure while you’re on vacation
Most communities across the U.S. will experience a 10 percent to 18 percent jump in home burglaries during the months of June, July, and August, according to FBI statistics.
But there are simple ways you can help ensure thieves won’t plunder your home while you’re on vacation this summer. And we have info on systems that can help you monitor your home while you’re away.
Limit social sharing
Don’t post your vacation plans on your blog, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. There will be plenty of time to share after you return.
Consider technological solutions
In our tests of products that let you monitor your home remotely, we liked Connected by TCP, a system lets you control lights via its app ($50). Generac Mobile Link, $280, e-mails or texts you or a servicing dealer if a problem arises during your generator’s periodic self-test. FortrezZ Wireless Z-Wave water valve system can e-mail, text, or call you if water is where it shouldn’t be, but it’s costly: $485 to $565, depending on the number of sensors you add.
Enlist a friend
If you can’t go high-tech, go low. See whether someone can move in or check the home regularly while you’re gone. He can feed pets, adjust curtains, take care of trash pickups, and bring in the mail. (You can also stop your mail online.) If you’ll be away for an extended period, ask someone to mow your lawn.
Make it hard to slip in unnoticed
Trim shrubs around the house to no higher than 3 feet from the ground and trees so that the lowest branches are at least 6 feet up. That way there will be fewer spots for a ne’er-do-well to hide. Secure first-floor air conditioners with an outside bracket. Install motion-sensor lights where a burglar can’t easily unscrew the bulbs. Other burglar-deterrents can earn you up to 15 percent off your homeowners insurance premiums, including deadbolt locks, window grates, bars, and a burglar alarm.