Lots of people travel over the holidays to visit friends and family, whether they’re driving, flying, or teleporting (just kidding – but we wish we weren’t.) Taking a few days to go out of town and see loved ones is great, but you don’t want to be worrying about your house while you’re away. Before you leave for holiday vacation, check out these tips for securing your home against burglary while you’re away.
11 ways to protect your home before you go on holiday vacation.
1. Think about a home security system.
Burglar alarms and security systems can be great deterrents for theft – and, of course, they’ll bring the police to your home posthaste if they detect an unwelcome guest. Burglars are looking for an easy mark, so they’ll think twice about targeting your house if they see the security system company’s sign on your yard or sticker in your window.
In addition to deterring thieves and alerting the police, your security system might just do another cool trick – lowering your home insurance rates. Home insurance companies often offer discounts to homeowners who have security systems because those homes have less risk of being burgled.
2. Make sure you know where all your keys are – and don’t leave one in a “hiding place.”
Do a mental check and make sure you know where all your house keys are. Is every key accounted for?
Also, don’t hide a spare key outside your home. The problem is that burglars already know all the best hiding places. For example – under the mat, in the eaves, beneath the potted plant. If you’ve thought it, so have they. So, don’t give them an easy way into your home. Find a more secure way to store your extra key.
3. Stop your mail and newspaper while you’re away.
Newspapers piling up on your driveway can be a giveaway that no one’s home. Burglars like to go for homes that aren’t occupied because they’re easy targets – nobody’s there to call the police. Stop your newspaper for the time that you’ll be away.
Also, you might want to put a hold on your mail while you’ll be away for holiday vacation. You definitely don’t need your mail piling up in your mailbox where people can get ahold of it. If you have a pet-sitter coming in, you could also just ask them to get the mail and bring it inside. (And while they’re at it, they could also pick up your newspaper so you don’t have to worry about stopping it.)
4. Make your home look as occupied as possible.
As we mentioned earlier, burglars love homes that look empty or unoccupied. Or look like the family is on vacation. If you make it look like someone’s home, it might give a burglar pause before they decide to choose your house.
For example, you can get timers for your lights. They’ll automatically turn lamps and such on and off so that it looks like someone’s moving around the house. It’ll help your home look lived-in.
5. Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home.
It’s not a bad idea to let a trusted neighbor know that you’d like them to keep an eye out for your home while you’re away. They can pick up any packages that get delivered, remove any advertisements stuck to the mailbox, and so on. They’ll also know to be on alert for anything suspicious or strange around your house.
Also, ask your neighbor to take care of your trash bins. They can move them to the curb on trash day and then pull them back. This will also make your house look like there’s someone home – and it’ll prevent a major stink.
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6. Get automatic lights outside the home.
If you have automatic lights that are triggered by motion, this can discourage burglars. They don’t want anyone to see them breaking into the home and toting stuff away, so if you flood the yard with light anytime someone gets close to the door, that might foil the plans of a thief. You can also have lights that run on timers so they turn on at night.
7. Keep your valuables safe.
It’s best to move your valuables out of sight and to a safe place within the home so that burglars can’t see them from the windows. That way you’re not showing off all the takings your home has to offer.
8. Be careful what you post.
It’s important to be smart on social media when you’re going on vacation. Don’t post about your travel plans before the trip, and don’t post photos of yourself in a location that’s clearly not where you live on social media. It might seem a bit far-fetched, but burglars can actually piece together social media clues to find out that your home will be empty while you’re on holiday vacation.
9. Think about asking someone to house-sit.
If you’re having someone you trust look after the cats and dogs, you could ask them to stay at your house and house-sit instead. That way they’ll be able to keep an eye on things, take care of the pets, yell “fire!” if necessary, and bring in the mail. Besides, Fluffy and Spot will be pleased to have the company.
10. Unplug your electronics.
Okay, this one isn’t necessarily about preventing burglary, but it’s still not a bad plan. You can lower the chance of an electrical fire by unplugging electronic devices.
11. Lock all the doors and windows.
It’s important to batten the hatches before you get in the car to drive to your family’s house or the airport. Check that all the doors and windows are locked. Don’t leave an easy entrance for a burglar when you depart for a holiday vacation.
Holiday vacation time is great and it’s wonderful to spend time with friends and family. But it’s also important to take a little time to secure your home before you head out of town. The above tips can help you prevent a burglary while you’re away. And give you some peace of mind, too.
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