Tuesday, May 9, 2017 | Tracy Hendrix

How to Keep an Empty Property Secure

If you own a property that’s currently unoccupied, you may be concerned about how to keep it safe in your absence. This is an understandable worry, as empty buildings are more likely to be broken into than regularly-occupied ones. However, there are some easy steps you can take to keep your property safe even while it’s not being used.

Step 1: Set Up an Alarm System

An alarm system is even more important for an empty property than it is for an occupied one, and that’s saying a lot. This is because, unlike buildings where people are constantly coming and going, there isn’t anyone around to check on the place regularly. As word gets around that the building is currently vacant, the news may invite some very unwelcome attention. You can keep the property safe by setting up an alarm system and advertising it clearly. You can use window stickers, yard signs, or whatever method you prefer, but just making it clear that the property is protected by a system will go far towards discouraging any vandalism or burglary.

Step 2: Remove Valuables from Sight

Don’t keep anything of value on the property if it can be moved to another, safer location. If you can’t move it or don’t have another place to store it (for example, heavy equipment), be sure to place it in a room that can’t be seen from the outside of the building. This helps remove the temptation by keeping anyone outside from knowing what you keep in the property. Even better if you can put it behind yet another lock, like inside a locked closet. Thieves would need to break through two separate locks to get it, on a serious time crunch.

Step 3: Use Video Cameras

Empty buildings can sometimes become havens for those who have no business being there. If you’re suspicious that your property has become a hangout spot for unwelcome visitors, setting up some video cameras will give you a first person perspective on what exactly is going on. If the cameras are advertised or in plain sight, their presence alone may be enough to discourage activity on the property. And if something is damaged, you’ll have footage that you can use to help not only find the culprit, but hold them responsible in court for any damages.

Step 4: Don’t Forget Temperature Control

Human intruders aren’t the only thing that can wreck an empty property. If the climate inside the building isn’t kept to a standard temperature, the unusual highs or lows can allow mold or insects to overrun the area quickly. This is particularly true in the summer, when warm and humid conditions create a breeding ground for pests. Overly-cold temperatures, meanwhile, can cause appliances and other fixtures in the building to malfunction. You don’t have to keep the thermostat set on 70 degrees and shell out hundreds of dollars for heating and cooling an empty building in the process, but avoiding temperature extremes can save you some real headaches down the road.

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