It's that time of the year again! School is almost out, and many of us are preparing for a family vacation. Whether you're planning a week at the beach or a trip to Europe, don't leave your empty home vulnerable to crime. Here are 10 tips to help keep your belongings safe and give you peace of mind while you're on vacation.
1. Hire a House or Pet-Sitter
A trustworthy relative or friend who'll move in and feed your pets, water your plants and get your mail. This is a great job for a college student home for the summer! A home that is occupied is a huge deterrent for burglars. Don't have anyone in mind? There are services you can use for house-sitting and pet-sitting while you're away.
2. Bright Lights
Keeping your property well-lit will lessen the likelihood of a break-in. Burglars don't like being visible! That being said, don't leave your exterior lights on all day either. Timers are a great option or consider installing motion-sensitive adapters to your exterior lights. A surprise light could be enough to make a burglar run away.
3. Don't Forget the Lawn
If you're a conscientious homeowner who mows your lawn every week, and things start to look overgrown, it's easy to come to the conclusion that you're away. It is a good idea to mow your lawn before you go. If you plan on being away for an extended period of time, hire someone to mow it for you.
4. Bring in the Trash Cans
Sounds simple, but easy to forget. Either dispose of your trash before you leave or ask your neighbors to bring in the cans while you're away. Don't put out the trash too early, as this can be a red flag that you're gone.
5. Keep Eyes on Your House
Even if you mow the lawn and bring in the trash cans, there are still those unexpected situations that can alert burglars to your absence. Packages on your front porch, newspapers on your driveway and flyers on your doorknob are dead giveaways. Ask a friend or neighbor to check on your home every day or so, get the mail and make sure everything is in order.
6. Remove Garage Door Openers from Cars and Lock the Garage Doors
Many garage doors and openers have a lock feature... use it! In fact, just unplug your garage door so that if a burglar does get the opener, the doors won't open. Always lock the interior door into the house.
7. Stay off of Social Media
The vacation pictures are great to share, and we want to see them... when you get back. Don't advertise your absence. Have your children be discreet in their posts and in discussing vacation plans as well.
8. Put Timers on Indoor Lights
Keeping interior lights on 24 hours a day will have a big impact on your electric bill. Having one or two lights on timers is a much better idea. Don't forget to put one upstairs in a bedroom giving the illusion that someone is up late at night.
9. Ditch the Hide-A-Key
Surprisingly, most break-ins involve a key! Most burglars will find and use the Hide-A-Key to get easy and quick access to your home. Burglars know the best hiding places better than you do!
10. Don't forget to Lock the Pet Doors
These doors are a great convenience for those of us with pets, but they can be a point of entry for a burglar. Make sure you lock your pet door while you're away, and also block it from entry with a heavy piece of furniture.
Enjoy your Vacation! Safe Travels!