Vacant homes a target for thieves

Vacant homes a target for thieves

PALM DESERT, Calif. - Police get hundreds of home burglary reports in the valley every year. Here's why:
"Most of our customers, they own a second home in the valley here. They spend most of their winter months over here and in the summer time they leave," said Chris Madain, President/CEO of Desert Alarm Inc.

Leaving behind their pricey belongings, and often making it very apparent to burglars there's no one home.

"It's very obvious, the lights are off, no movement inside the home, just things of that nature that give it away," Madain said.

In the U.S. a home is broken into every 13 seconds and the most common time for these invasions is the summer.

But if you think homes and communities behind gates are safe, think again.

"I just assume the only way to get in is through the gate and the gate's not always open," said Kathleen Dostert, a Palm Desert resident who lives in a gated community.

"Most break-ins in the valley happen to homes that are behind gated communities," Madain said.

Some ways to keep your home safe, especially if you plan to leave for months at a time:

Keep your windows and doors locked.
Consider getting timers for your lights and television to make it appear someone is home.
Install a home security system.

"The best way to protect your home is through a burglar alarm system," Madain said.

According to the FBI, homes without security systems are 300% more likely to be broken into.

"We get people who wait too long before they install an alarm system and they call us when it's a little too late," Madain said.

A standard security system could be costly, but it could be much more costly leaving your home without one.   

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