Leaving on Vacation? Protect Your Home From Burglars with These Five Tips
You may be on vacation. Burglars are not.
An old friend of mine once enjoyed a lovely Valentine’s Day vacation…only to return to find a thief had broken in and stolen the jewelry and other irreplaceable valuables. What a way to end a trip.
Many burglars are on the prowl for homes left empty as their owners traverse around a different city. These temporarily vacant homes make great targets, which is why you need to be proactive about your home’s security before leaving on vacation. While you can’t make your home an impenetrable fortress, you can take a few steps to make your home less of a target and less easy to break into.
1. Hide the Mail
If you are gone for more than a few days, get someone to collect your mail. A stack of newspapers on your front porch or an overflowing mail slot is a cue for burglars a home is empty. Make sure the person collecting your mail does not leave the pile visible on a counter since this also indicates no one is home. Instead, they can toss the mail on your bedroom nightstand or throw it in an office desk drawer. Out of sight, out of the burglar’s mind.
2. Don’t Hide the Spare Key There
Thievery 101: check the obvious places for a spare key to gain easy entry into a home. Many people “hide” the key under a welcome mat, a potted plant, or even buy a conspicuous looking rock made specifically for hiding a spare key.
That’s barely a step up from leaving the home unlocked. Too many burglars gain easy entry into a home by simply finding and using the spare key.
Don’t let that happen. When deciding where to hide the key, remember one thing. The first place you think to hide it will be the first place a burglar thinks to look. Think outside the box and place the key in a creative hard-to-find spot. Better yet, give the key to an emergency contact to remove the chance of a burglar finding and using it.
3. Keep Up With Your Landscaping
An overgrown lawn is an instant indicator for an empty home. Before you go on vacation, see if you can hire a neighborhood teenager to mow your lawn for you. It’ll cost you a few bucks, which is way cheaper than replacing broken windows and stolen electronics.
4. Remove Valuables From Sight
Leaving your laptops, jewelry, and other valuables perfectly visible from your home’s exterior will only serve to tempt burglars scouting the area. Don’t let anything attract their attention. Lock them away and out of view. It’s also good to unplug electronics anyway since they can be a fire hazard.
5. See If Your Police Department Offers Vacation Home Check
In my city, break-ins are common so the police offer a free program. You call them with the dates of your vacation and the department sends volunteers to check in on your home. They can walk around the perimeter and look for suspicious activity. This gets activity around your house every day, which helps deter burglars.
A little proactivity before you leave can make a big difference to how your vacation ends. After all, the hardest part of ending a vacation should be leaving the tropical paradise, not coming back to a ransacked home.
Do you have words of wisdom on how to protect your home while away? If so, let us know in the comments.