If you own a property that sits vacant some (or all) of the time, it’s important that you take steps to secure the property. Vacant homes are a common target for thieves, partiers, and squatters, and they have a sixth sense for finding these empty properties. Damage from break-ins or unauthorized occupations can be extensive, so it’s worthwhile to follow some best practices for securing your vacant property.
Get an alarm. An alarm system isn’t cheap, but it’s one of the single best ways to protect a vacant property. Not only should you have a good system installed, but you should also advertise the presence of the alarm system with stickers on the windows and on the doors, and even yard signs on the property. If you don’t live near the vacant property, be sure to register with the local police department or a security company so they can check things out promptly if the alarm is tripped.
Install good lighting. Good lighting is a great deterrent for thieves or squatters. Most break-ins are conducted in the dark when neighbors are less likely to see the activity and call the police. Consider installing motion-sensitive lights to alert neighbors to the possibility that someone is near the home who doesn’t belong there.
Install security cameras. Security cameras are an excellent way to deter break-ins or property crime. Today, with “Internet of Things” technology, security cameras and doorbell cameras can be quickly, easily, and inexpensively installed to alert you on your smartphone that someone is near the property.
Make friends with the neighbors. One of the best defenses against property crime of a vacant home or building is alert neighbors who will call you or the police if they see strange cars or individuals near the property. Be sure you know your neighbors and let them know when the house will be vacant, and when it will be legitimately occupied.
Keep the home and yard maintained. Nothing screams “vacant property” like an unkempt lawn and house, or a pile of old newspapers sitting on the porch. Be sure you’re maintaining the property to residential standards and not throwing out any announcements about the property’s vacancy by letting mail pile up or weeds grow. Check the property regularly to make sure it’s secure and no windows are broken.
Park a car in the driveway. If possible, it’s ideal to leave a vehicle in the driveway or in front of the house. The presence of the vehicle will discourage would-be criminals by convincing them that the building is occupied.
Condition the home for the vacancy. Not all threats come from human predators. Vacant homes are also subject to wildlife incursion and disasters such as burst pipes or roof leaks. Ensure the home is being regularly checked for threats of the natural variety.
Be sure your insurance company knows. Your home insurance provider can help you secure the house to prevent break-ins or damage. In Connecticut, Petruzelo Insurance offers personal and business policies, including home insurance, that fit your needs. Call us at 866-479-3327 or visit our website for more information.