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burglar breaking into a house

Closing up your Florida home: security considerations

In our final post to this six-part series, we will provide some security considerations as you prepare your home for an extended stay away.

Whether you are leaving for a month or several months, you want to protect your home from intruders. Consider these five important theft-protection principles:

  1. Discourage the interest of burglars.
  2. Inhibit entry by an intruder.
  3. Disrupt a break-in when it is happening.
  4. Protect your valuables.
  5. Cover potential losses.

When possible, have someone you trust check on your home regularly for damage and security breaches. If you live in a condominium or planned community, some security may be provided. But, know your responsibilities.

The best defense is prevention. Both amateur and professional burglars are likely to bypass your home if it appears to have active residents living in the home. Here are some basic tips to follow:

  • Mail, newspapers and other deliveries should be stopped or promptly picked up by a neighbor or friend.
  • A parked car in the drive or carport can discourage burglars. A friend or neighbor may agree to leave their car in your driveway from time to time.
  • Do not disconnect your phone.
  • Place several lights within your home on timers.
  • Outside lighting and trimmed shrubbery should provide nighttime visibility of windows and doors from the street. Remember lights left on outside during the day may signal that you are gone.
  • Window treatments should NOT make the house look closed up, but should prevent easy viewing of valuables, such as electronic equipment and cameras.
  • Doors should have dead bolts or other secure locks, jimmy-proof locks.
  • Glass panels in doors or near doors should be shatter-proof or double-glazed.
  • Sliding glass doors should have a bolt-type lock to prevent being lifted out of the track, and a jamming bar should be placed in the inside track.
  • Sliding door glass should be shatter-proof, double-glazed or have a break-resistant sheeting.
  • Prepare a home inventory before you leave, but do not store it in your home.
  • Check your homeowner’s insurance policy. Be knowledgeable about what types of coverage you have and the amounts. Know your deductibles.
  • Have the contact information of your friends and neighbors if needed in an emergency while you are away.

Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare your home. Create a list of what you need to do, and start about three weeks before your departure. There is a lot to complete, starting with the cleaning, making appointments with professional services if needed, getting supplies, and ending with preparing your home both inside and out.

Leaving your home well-maintained and properly secured will give you peace of mind.

For more helpful tips, visit sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/sarasota or the EDIS publication website.

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