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Lights, Timers and Social Media: Protect Your Home While on Vacation

Mt. Laurel man discusses home invasion

For many summer means vacations, whether it be short getaways or lengthy far-away trips. But summer also can mean an increase in home burglaries, so it’s a good idea to get the house prepared.

Ooma, a leading do-it-yourself home phone and security company based in California, says the highest percentage of home burglaries happen during the summer months. But there are some inexpensive steps homeowners can take to prevent break-ins.

Not your father’s door bell

Dennis Peng, vice president of product management, says the front door is a starting point for a third of all break-ins. He suggests installing sensors to get alerts if your door opens when you’re away. Also, you can “install a smart doorbell that routes to your phone and use tools like two-way speakers to give visitors the impression someone is home.”

Open windows

About 25 percent of home burglaries occur through first-floor windows, making it a popular entry point, says Peng. Before you go away, lock all windows. But also installing wireless motion sensors is important because they can remind you if you have forgotten to any of them.

Peng says it’s critical to check your air conditioning units. Window units can be easily pushed in, allowing a thief to crawl through the opening. So you can “install sensors on the A/C sensors itself so you can detect when it has moved or when it has been pushed in,” says Peng.

Sneak attacks

Sliding doors are often on the side or at the back of the house, making them not very visible from the street in most instances. So this is another popular entry point for thieves. The locks are also generally easy to pick. Peng suggest installing physical barrier bars on the tracks, making it harder for the doors to open.

Spotlight on timers

Keep the lights on when you’re away. It gives the impression that someone is home. Peng says you can go the old-fashioned route and start timers on lamps. Smart lights allow you to control it remotely or program the lights to turn them on by a schedule. Many smart lights come with features where they will turn on randomly.

Too much information

Peng says you should refrain from sharing any photos on social media until after you return from your trip. You don’t want to give would-be thieves a heads up that you’re not home.

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Jen Ursillo is the midday news anchor on New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

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