Counting down the days until your summer vacation?
Before you pack your bags, take some time to plan for your home’s security while you are away. Taking a few simple precautions can do wonders for your peace of mind.
Hire a house-sitter. Professional house-sitters will make your home look lived in, as well as tend to day-to-day home maintenance. Or, save funds by recruiting a trustworthy friend or family member. Perhaps you have a college-age niece or nephew who is back home for the summer and would like some personal space for the week. Stock your fridge and let them stay at your home while you are gone. It’s a win-win!
Stop mail and newspaper delivery. Nothing screams “vacant house!” like an overflowing mailbox or a pile of newspapers in the yard. The post office and your news carrier can hold your deliveries until you return. Request a hold from USPS here, and contact your paper’s subscription desk or customer service center.
Think like a thief. Walk the outer perimeter of your home and look for valuables that are visible through windows. If you can see them, move them. Also check your landscaping for any overgrown bushes or shrubs that obscure windows from view, creating a hiding place for burglars.
Secure all entry points. It sounds obvious, but do thorough lock inspections before you depart. Check all doors and windows, including those to your garage. If you have sliding patio doors, secure them with a board or rod so that they cannot be forced open. Burglars know all the spare key hiding spots; leave your spare key with a trusted friend or neighbor. Your garage is also a potentially vulnerable access point. Unplug the power to your automatic garage door opener to prevent thieves from opening it with a universal controller.
Keep up appearances. Make an effort to keep your home looking as normal as possible while you are away. Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you’ll be gone for an extended period of time. If you live in a hot climate, keep your air conditioning on. A silent central air unit will definitely look unusual during the hot summer months. Ask a trusted neighbor or friend to move your trash bins to and from the curb as needed.
Hold the vacation selfies until you get home. We all love to share our vacation adventures with our friends and family, but save it until you are home. Ask your kids to do the same. If your teens are posting and tagging your location, there is no telling who is able to access that information.
Ask for help. Many local law enforcement offices will increase patrols in your area if you let them know you will be away from home. Check to see if your municipality offers such a service. Often times you need to put in a request several days in advance, so don’t wait until you are on your way out of town to reach out for assistance.
Get to know your neighbors. A connected community is a safe community. Attend neighborhood events and participate in online community conversations. Your neighbors will naturally be inclined to look out for you and your home if they know you. Check to see if your HOA has a neighborhood watch and inform them of your travel plans.
Putting a home security plan in place before you hit the road will make for a more relaxing and enjoyable vacation. Safe travels!