You’ve been looking forward to this vacation all year. Time to leave the Capital Region and relax somewhere far from home. While you’re gone, the last thing you need to do is worry about your home’s safety.
There are several ways to protect your home and its contents while you’re away. There are several “common sense” precautions you can take as well as utilizing technology. Here are some ideas to secure your home when you’re on vacation.
Consider a house sitter. Do you have a college aged niece or nephew who lives locally? Ask them if they’d mind hanging out at your home while you’re gone. If you have pets, this would be easier and cheaper than boarding them. Also, seeing a car coming and going throughout the week will ward off potential burglars.
Don’t advertise you’re away – and this includes on social media. Take a look at your Facebook friend list. How many of them do you know (and know well) in real life? How many are past co-workers or acquaintances? Although these are people who would say hello to you if you passed them in the grocery store, you can’t be sure they aren’t the same type of people who would take advantage of your home being vacant. Skip the “check-ins” and save the photos for when you return.
Invest in an alarm system. This doesn’t mean you need to spend thousands on a professional security system. Put lights on a timer, so it appears someone is home. Consider moving one of your cars out of the garage and leaving it (locked, of course) in the driveway. A car out front and lights turning on and off inside are a great deterrent. If you can get a neighbor to take out your garbage and put the cans back after the garbage pickup, it’s another way to send the message that everything is proceeding normally at your house.
Have the post office hold your mail and put your newspaper delivery on hold. An overstuffed mailbox and unopened newspapers on the lawn are a signal you are not at home.
Make it a habit to disconnect electronics before you leave. Unplugging the coffee maker, tv and laptop will save you money while you’re gone and give you piece of mind that you didn’t accidentally leave these on, creating a potential fire hazard.
Leave all doors and windows locked. This may seem obvious, but it’s something easy to forget during the hustle and bustle the morning you leave. And that means lock up everything. Do you leave a basement window unlocked for the cat to get in and out? Do you usually keep the sliding glass door in the dining room opened for the kids to come in? Lock it up!
Alert a trusted neighbor that you’ll be going away and ask that they keep an eye out for suspicious activity. Make sure they have your phone number.
Remove any spare keys that are hidden outside the house. Instead, give a key to a trusted neighbor or family member to regularly check the house. Locking your doors is important, but up to 50 percent of burglaries involve the use of a key. Don’t hide a key outdoors in a protected spot, either. Burglars know the best hiding places better than you do.