House & Home

Vacant Home Used for Crime

Posted March 5, 2014

In a terrible series of events in Philadelphia, 46-year-old Edward Kappe took advantage of an empty home listed for sale to lure a victim inside, rape her, beat her, and steal her possessions. Police are investigating the situation, but it's a grim reminder that it's important to be careful with vacant real estate.

Any time a home is going to be empty, whether you're planning a trip or emptying it out between tenants or while it's on the market, it's important to make sure it is properly secured to prevent crimes like this. Make sure it has an armed security system as well as a watchful neighbor and/or real estate agent to monitor it while it's vacant, and consider avoiding obvious signs that it's empty.

For example, consider not publicly listing the home, so criminals won't have an easy time finding out that it's on the market and may be empty and unguarded. Make sure that real estate agents showing the home are familiar with the alarm system and locks so it can be secured after viewings, and use lights on timers to create the illusion that someone is home. Don't let a house sit dark and obviously empty with a "for sale" sign outside (consider adding a "don't disturb occupants" sign as a white lie to suggest the home isn't open for business), and don't let your Philadelphia construction team leave gear outside that might suggest a structure is under major remodels.

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