There’s a lot to think about when preparing for a trip. One thing you probably don’t think about is your unoccupied home, which is subject to break-ins when you’re gone for a long period of time.
That is, if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Keep the following tips in mind before before you head out for your next trip to ensure that your home is safe while you’re away. You’ll enjoy greater peace of mind knowing you prepped your home for optimal security.
Your neighbors can be a helpful set of hands and eyes while you’re away on vacation. You don’t necessarily need someone to house sit, but it will be helpful to have someone check on your house periodically and keep eyes on your property.
Specifically, ask your neighbor to grab the mail and pick up your newspapers while you’re away. Stacks of mail or a pile of newspapers is a sign that nobody’s home. If you plan to be gone for more than a week, ask your neighbor to put your trash cans out, as well.
It can be easy to forget to lock doors and windows when you’re in a rush, but 32 percent of burglaries occur when a thief enters through an unlocked door.
To make sure you don’t forget this when you’re rushing to the airport, make a ‘leaving-the-house’ checklist that includes all of the windows and doors you need to lock and the electronic items you need to unplug or turn off.
You can use timers to automate your interior and exterior lights to make it seem like someone is home. Set your inside lights to turn off and on at random intervals so if someone is casing your house, he or she won’t be able to nail down a timeline of when you’re home or away. Light timers are inexpensive and can also be used to automate other electronic devices reducing energy use all year long.
An alarm system is one of the best ways to protect your home. According to a study from UNC Charlotte, approximately 83 percent of former burglars said they would try to determine if an alarm was present before attempting a burglary, and 60 percent said they would seek an alternative target if there was an alarm on-site.
If you don’t want to invest in an entire security system, however, opt for a set of wireless cameras instead. New technology for wireless cameras are especially helpful when traveling:
“With smartphone recording, motion activation and night vision, home security cameras and Wi-Fi security cameras provide a discreet way to record video and keep a watchful eye on your valuables and loved ones. Wireless home security cameras can give you confidence that your home is safe and scare away a potential burglar,” explain home security experts. Burglars won’t know if you have a full alarm system in place or just a set of cameras, allowing you to be just as effective.
You can make your home less enticing to a potential intruder if you don’t put expensive items on display. You may not want to move your flatscreen from your living room, but you can draw the curtains so no one can see inside. Put smaller items in dressers or desk drawers and lock them up in a safe. Burglars are usually in search of cash, credit cards, jewelry or easily pawnable items. Don’t invite them in by putting these items on display.
You can strategically use your landscape to keep your home safe while you’re away. Burglars prefer to hit homes where they have places to hide; overgrown bushes and shrubs provide an ideal hiding spot for a potential intruder. Trim your bushes and shrubs to increase visibility around your house. This will eliminate potential hiding spots for burglars and make it easier for neighbors or onlookers to see if someone is trying to get into your house.
Keeping your home safe while away isn’t hard; it just takes a few extra steps between packing and printing your boarding passes. Follow these simple home-safety tips so you can enjoy a stress-free trip knowing your home is secure.
Bio: Maile Proctor is a blogger and freelance writer and editor. She writes about lifestyle, home, family and finance. She’s written for Lodgify, AllConnect, ApartmentGuide and more. Maile earned her bachelor’s in broadcast journalism from Chapman University. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking in San Diego, California.
What ways do you protect your home before you leave on vacation?