You've planned your big get away for a long time. Don't let thieves spoil it for you. Here are some basic tips for securing your home and keeping it safe while on vacation.
Make It Look Like Everything's Normal
- You want your home to still look lived in as much as possible. At the very least, stop your mail/newspaper delivery or ask a trusted friend to pick it up for you.
- If you can afford it, hire a house sitter. Otherwise, once again ask a friend or neighbor to stop by your home regularly to pick up any fliers left on your lawn, check to see the pipes haven't burst, the doors are secure, etc.
- Also, ask that neighbor to open and close the garage doors periodically and move trash cans back and forth from the curb on trash day. Just like everyone else.
- Keep the lawn mowed. After a few days, it will start to get noticeable.
- Put your lights, tv and radio on a timer.
- But don't close your blinds if you usually leave them open. You want to avoid any obvious change in your routine.
Securing Your Home
- Don't leave behind that spare key under the rock by your front door. Thieves know about that one. If you don't know the location of all your keys to your home, now is the time to change the locks.
- Make sure all of your doors and windows are locked, even the ones you might not usually bother with (like the doggie door). Exterior windows and doors need deadbolts on the inside.
- If a nearby streetlight is broken, call it in now. Make it harder for thieves to sneak up on your home.
- Add exterior lights to your home and put them on a timer.
- Make sure that your most expensive items (especially computers, tv and jewelry) can't be seen from the street.
- Consider a safe or lockbox for your most portable valuables.
- Disconnect the garage door opener.
- Add a home security system - or at least display the signs for one.
Be Careful Who You Tell
- Don't mention your trip on social media or your phone's voicemail. In fact, don't mention the details to anyone one who doesn't need to know. It may sound a little paranoid, but it should not be common knowledge that your home is vacant.
- Don't leave your GPS in the car, especially if you are taking it to the airport.
- Do let your neighborhood watch know - and how they can reach you. If you don't have a good watch in your area, tell at least one neighbor.
- Some cities have a program for you to inform the local police you'll be out of town. The effectiveness of that varies by location, but it's worth looking into.
You've earned this vacation and planned for it. A little advance home security planning will keep the memories happy.