illustration: Jossdim/iStock

Going on Vacation? Here’s What Burglars Think About Your Trip

By AMA Staff

Burglars have more than a few tricks up their sleeves. Read on to see what thieves are thinking while staking out your house when you’re away for the holidays, and learn how to outsmart them.

1  Hey, thanks for broadcasting your trip on Facebook, and leaving your online privacy settings nice and open. Keep those beachy Instagrams coming. Now I know exactly where you are and how long you’ll be away.

2  My favourite pastime is peeking into windows to see if you have anything worth my while. Don’t bother hiding valuables like jewellery or putting them in a safe deposit box. Just leave them on your dresser or in your sock drawer. Much easier for me to find.

3  Want to really show me you care? Leave the lights out, driveway empty, let the mail and newspapers pile up and don’t shovel the sidewalk. I hate those pesky electrical timers and motion detectors that turn the lights on and off.

4  Do you know the most common places for homeowners to hide spare keys? Because I do: under the mat, in the mailbox, on top of the doorsill or under the potted plant on the porch. Be a gem and leave it in one of those spots, and not with a friend or trusted neighbour.

5  No need to let your alarm company know you’re going to be out of town, or ask any of your friends or neighbours to keep an eye on the place. Just leave town and forget about providing anyone with an emergency contact number.

How to ensure your jewellery is properly insured

6  Or better yet, leave a window unlatched. A garage or shed door would be great, too. Plenty to steal in there. Attached garages and sliding doors are my favourites – everyone forgets to double-check that they’re locked.

7  Do me one final favour? Leave boxes for your Christmas purchases in the recycling bin so I know you have stuff worth stealing. My picks: TVs and small electronics. Thanks, bestie!

Tip! If you’re planning to be away for more than a couple of days, make sure you either turn off your water supply and drain your pipes to prevent freezing in winter, or get someone to check your house daily to make sure the pipes haven’t frozen. This is a requirement for your home insurance, but the timeframe could vary depending on your policy, so check with your insurer for exact details.

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