Just as birds fly south for the winter, Arizona's balmy climate attracts thousands of snowbirds - people who escape the frigid northern climates to spend the season here.
Leaving a home unoccupied for several weeks, however, can put homeowners at risk of burglary. Priority 1, a privately-owned nationwide home security company, has the following tips for snowbirds to secure the homes they left behind:
- Place lights and a television on a programmable timer.
- Suspend newspaper subscriptions during the time you are away.
- Put your mail on hold, or have it sent to a temporary P.O box.
- Install a professional security system. Some systems allow you to view the inside of your home from web accessible devices such as smart phones or computers, and provide updates if your pipes are frozen or if your home has been breached.
- Make sure all windows are locked and doors are bolted.
- Take a strong dowel, steel bar or two-by-four and place it into the back groove of sliding doors to prevent burglars from opening the door even if the lock is picked.
- Hide valuables in vaulted safes or unsuspected places.
- Find out if your town features a crime watch program, where police will conduct daily drive-bys of your home.