Nothing is more inviting to a burgler than a house whose owners have gone on vacation, leaving the house empty and unprotected. Giveaways like zero activity in and around the house, dark windows, and an overflowing mailbox advertise to criminals that no one is home, like a flashing neon sign.
You may think that you live in a “safe” neighborhood where break-ins just don’t happen, but believe me, they can happen anywhere. Following these tips will help keep your home safe and secure. and your belongings intact, while you enjoy your time away from home.
- Find a house sitter: Do you have a close friend or relative that you trust that can stay at your house while you’re gone? This is probably your best choice for protecting your home. A house sitter can take care of your plants and animals, and their daily activities will show that the house is still inhabited.
- Ask a trusted neighbor to check in: Have them open and close your curtains or blinds, turn the TV or radio on and off at various times, turn different lights on and off, water your plants (wilting outdoors plants are another giveaway), and grab your mail and any newspapers daily. You might want to offer to pay them or do something nice for them when you return. Or maybe you and your neighbor can set up a reciprocal arrangement where you watch each other’s homes while you vacation.
- Use electronics to turn your TV, lights, and radio on and off: All these items can be put on inexpensive timers, and many of the newer security systems allow you to control everything from the lights to the garage door to the coffee pot remotely, via the internet or your smartphone. Again, nothing announces your absense like zero activity inside your home.
- Temporarily stop the delivery of your mail and newspapers. And if any packages might come during your absence, ask a neighbor to pick them up and hold them until you return.
- Plants and the lawn: Hire someone to water any outside plants and, if you are going to be away for long, someone to mow your grass.
- Your alarm system: If you have a friend or neighbor watching the house, be sure they know how to work your alarm system (you do have an alarm system, don’t you?), and know how to contact you if necessary.
- Doors and Windows: Of course, if you are not going to have a sitter, be sure that all doors and windows are closed and locked before you leave. Don’t give a burglar easy access to your house.
- Outdoor lighting: Outdoor lighting that comes on automatically at night will help to deter criminals. Lights pointing at your doors and windows will make it difficult for any burglars. They need darkness to hide their activities.
Protecting your home and property starts with you! Following these tips will help you to do just that, so you can have a worry-free and stress-free vacation.