Taking a Summer Vacation? Secure Your Apartment First

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Warm weather (even blistering, hot weather) and sunny days are finally here, and if you’re like us, you can’t wait to get away to a favorite hotel, campground or resort. And yet, it feels just as good to return to a home after a vacation…sleeping our my own bed, with all our stuff within a few steps. To us, it’s worth taking preventative steps to secure my apartment before we leave — we want to keep our “fortresses of solitude” safe and sound.

According to crime statistics, a majority of U.S. communities typically see an increase of 10 to 20 percent in home burglaries over the summer months, with August being the peak month. Consider the following tips so your apartment doesn’t become the scene of a summer crime:

Locks

Making sure your doors have good locks in working order is a simple but vital step toward preventing burglary. Before you leave home, make sure all doors, windows and sliding balcony doors are closed and locked. If you have a deadbolt as well, make sure to use it!

Mail

The reviews are mixed on whether to stop your mail or have someone pick it up. If you’re comfortable telling the post office about the times you’ll be away, do so. If not, have a friend pick up their mail on a regular basis. Whichever method you choose, just don’t let mail accumulate in your mailbox or newspapers and flyers pile up by your door.

House-Sitter

It’s our experience that having someone to watch over our property is a wise choice. Even if it’s to occasionally water plants, pick up mail and check that everything is working properly, a trustworthy friend is a key component to my apartment’s security.

Shrubbery, Curtains and Lights

When it comes to windows, it’s important to make it appear that there’s nothing out of the ordinary going on — even if you’re thousands of miles from home. If you live on the first floor, keep in mind that anything that obstructs your windows from the street gives burglars cover to enter and leave your apartment at will. Plus, tightly closed curtains or constantly burning lights can be telltale signs that no one’s home, so when you’re gone for more than a day or two, consider using timer switches to turn lights on and off at regular intervals.

Social Media

Don’t tip off the world to your vacation by letting anyone with an Internet connection know you’re away. Believe us, we know it’s tempting — we’re constantly on Facebook and Twitter — but it makes a lot of sense to wait to update your Facebook page until after you’ve returned. That way, you’re not only security-conscious, you also get to take a second look at those vacation pictures to be sure you really want to share them! Many of us have made this mistake in the past, posting things that maybe we shouldn’t have, or maybe at the wrong time. And if you didn’t suffer a break-in at my apartment, you may have opened yourself up to unnecessary risk.

Alarms

Alarm systems have come a long way, but if your budget doesn’t allow for this, be creative. Look into what types of security measures are suggested by your local police department or are offered via your cable provider. These are two types of professionals who visit many homes and know from experience about the best, cost-effective protection measures. There are plenty of simple, inexpensive options on the market, including motion detectors, magnetic window alarms, and some DIY techniques that even we can do.

Insurance

It’s always advisable to double-check your renters insurance to see what coverage you have for your possessions while you’re away. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your insurance agent well before you hit the road. It’s a good idea to double-check anything you may have overlooked in your policy and ensure everything is up-to-date.

The last thing anyone wants is to return to a burgled or damaged apartment, so following these tips as part of a pre-vacation checklist can provide some valuable peace of mind. When you return home, you’ll be glad you did.

This blog post comes courtesy of the guest bloggers and editors at ApartmentRatings.com.

Being prepared as a renter includes securing proper Renters Insurance to protect your stuff if stolen or damaged.

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