Filed Under:Risk Management, Loss Control

12 home theft prevention tips for traveling homeowners

An empty home is more vulnerable to theft. The good news is, home theft is preventable. (Twin Designs/
An empty home is more vulnerable to theft. The good news is, home theft is preventable. (Twin Designs/

Summer is a popular time for vacations, weekend trips and even day trips, which means homes remain empty while their occupants are out having fun. Not surprisingly, the highest percentage of burglaries happen during the summer months.

According to American Modern Insurance Group, 30% of all burglaries occur as a result of something as simple as an open or unlocked window or door. Even if you feel your neighborhood is safe, empty homes are more vulnerable to theft.

The good news is, home theft is preventable. American Modern offers the following 12 tips for homeowners to help them take the proper steps and measures to secure their homes.

(Mark Scott/

Install strong door locks and deadbolts.

Choose a lock set that is proven to withstand drilling or picking.

(Dmitry Kalinovsky/

Reinforce doorjambs and strike plates.

Most often, structural failures occur when strike plates separate from doorframes.


Apply window security film.

This prevents glass breakage and can deter a smash and-grab.

Lock your windows.

If your windows don’t already have locks, add them. Or, drill small holes into the upper and lower sashes at their overlap point and insert removable eyebolts.

(Mark R/

Close and lock your shed and garage every night.

Make sure your vehicles are under cover and secure before you go to bed. On a smaller scale, stolen tools and lawn equipment are also a lucrative trade, so ensure these items are securely stored away.

(Twin Design/

When away from home, don’t advertise your absence.

Put temporary holds on mail and newspaper delivery, or have a trusted neighbor collect them. Put lights on staggered timers. Avoid posting on social media about your travel plans, which can increase the risk of burglaries and break-ins while you are away from your property.


Put in motion-activated outdoor lighting.

Make sure entry points are especially well-lit.

(DW art/

Adopt a dog.

They make wonderful pets and even better alarms. Even if you’re not a “dog person,” a “Beware of Dog” sign displayed prominently on your property can have a similar affect.

(Sascha Burkard/

Organize a Neighborhood Watch.

Meet your neighbors and deter theft!

(Richard Thornton/

Protect Vacant Properties and Vacation Homes.

Keep vacant home doors and windows securely locked as they are a big target for metal scrappers or vandals. Put interior lights on staggered timers and install motion-activated exterior lights.


Vehicles and items left in them.

Most vehicle-related thefts take place in under 20 seconds. Never leave loose items on the seats or dash; lock them in the trunk, or better yet, take them with you. If you have a garage at home, use it. If you must park on the street, install a loud alarm system with a visible, blinking dash light.


Not every thief is after traditional valuables.

Some thieves are after materials that can be sold to scrappers or recyclers for quick cash. Some want moderately expensive items that can be sold online before an owner realizes they’re gone. These items can include: bicycles, sporting equipment, pool pumps and copper coils from air conditioning units.

For more information, see the infographic from American Modern on the next page.

(Click infographic for full resolution.)


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