Five steps to protect your home while you're away

By: Kate Tillotson
By: Kate Tillotson

Summertime means school is out and families leave town, with some vacations lasting weeks at a time.

But is your home protected while you're away?

Home security is so important and there are so many ways of going about it. In this article we break them down into five easy steps.

The Clutter family isn't leaving town anytime soon, but should they decide to, they're prepared.

"We're having ADT come out to install a security system on the house," says Scott Clutter.

A husband and father of two, Scott often works nights. Last year, his home was nearly broken into and he doesn't want his family to be an easy target again.

"It was enough to scare us and this is the first time we're owning a home and that's why we're installing the system."

And he's not the only one.

In fact, installing a burglar system is the most effective way of warding off break-ins.

Number two is locking up every time, but don't fool yourself into thinking that is enough.

"A window can be broken," says Sgt. David Heaton of the Columbia County Sheriff's Department. "A door can be kicked in. And if you have any type of experience, you can get through that door pretty easily."

As a road patrol sergeant, Heaton often responds to break-ins. In addition to suggesting security alarms and locking up, he reminds homeowners: do not advertise that you're away.

"Have a neighbor pick all your newspapers up, pick your mail up," he says. "Put your lights on timers. If you can, get a friend to park a car in the driveway even...something like that."

Security experts also suggest making a list of valuables, even photographing them. That could later help with insurance claims.

And finally, posting a simple sign can carry a lot of bark.

"A Beware of Dog sign, and, if you don't have an alarm, an alarm sign. I mean, all those types of things help," Sgt. Heaton says.

All of those types of things have the Clutters feeling more secure from the outside in.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office offers a house watch program.

If you're planning a trip, you can call them, and while you're away they'll check your house twice during the day and twice at night, pulling on every door and making sure every window is secure.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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