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How to Protect Your Home This Winter

 

 
With winter in full swing and the holidays behind us, school vacations are coming up. Many of us plan vacations that will leave our homes unattended for several days at a time. In order to protect your home and its contents while you are away, please keep in mind the following five step security check.  If you don't have vacation plans, these tips will help keep your family and your home safe. 

1.) Maintain the exterior of your home well. By keeping up with general home maintenance you will convey a polished look that could deter break-ins. Make sure your property doesn't look uninhabited, hidden or neglected because if it does it can look like an easy target. Be sure to trim shrubs away from windows and doors that criminals can use to hide. If you choose not to have an electronic security system, just the presence of new doors and windows may convey that your home is inhabited and looked after. 
2.) Install motion detection lighting. These lights are not just for the front of your home, they should be present on all sides of the house. If wiring is already present, installation is simple and they only cost about $50 each. 
3.) Install a home safe. Depending on what you choose, safes can run anywhere from $100 to upwards of $500; but it is an investment well worth it. Invaluable family jewelry, guns, passports and other important documents are best protected in a safe. Your safe should be bolted securely to your basement slab if possible. Although some thieves will try to take bigger items like TV's, most head to the master bedroom and look for more portable valuables; these items are far better off protected in a safe. 
4.) Back up your files. Worst case scenario, your computer does get stolen (Or it crashes) and you don't have your photos, videos, and other important documents backed up. By using an external hard drive or burning CDs you can insure that important family memories aren't lost forever. There are also a few online backup systems, such as ICloud and Carbonite.com that will keep a copy of your files safe in the event that your computer is lost or stolen.
5.) Check your insurance policy. Make sure your insurance protects you against theft. It's also a great idea to take a photo or video inventory that includes your more valuable belongings. Expensive camera and home office equipment is not always covered under a general policy so make sure to keep in mind that they might require an additional policy. 

There is no sure bet to protect your home from robbery, but the above tips you may decrease your odds of being victimized; and in the case of an incident you will have better protection.
 
by Jim Lowenstern, CEO Castles Unlimited

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