Your suitcases are packed. Airline tickets and hotel reservations are printed. You’re just about ready to head out on that awesome summer vacation, routine business trip or much-anticipated weekend getaway.
But, in the hustle and bustle, did you stop to think at all about security?
Regardless of where you're going, your absence makes your home more prone to break-ins because burglars are always looking for an easy target. Don't let your house be one more checkmark on their list.
Here's three tips to keep your property secure while you're off sipping cocktails in Tahiti.
1. Secure Your Home and Valuables
Before you leave, lock up tight. Secure doors and windows, and put valuables out of sight and in safe storage. Turn on your home security system.
If you don't have a home security system, consider adding one before your trip. This way, your house will be monitored while you're away and your property protected. Interactive home security systems even let you check in while away via your desktop or mobile phone, giving you the ability to view camera footage, remotely turn on lights and arm/disarm your system from afar. This can be an extremely valuable feature if you travel regularly or will be gone for an extended period of time.
Many interactive home security systems let you lock and unlock doors remotely, which can come in handy if you ask a neighbor or friend to watch your house, but don't want to make them a key.
2. Maintain Outward Appearances
Thieves look for easy targets, and an unoccupied home is just that. Deter break-ins by creating the illusion that you never left. Some easy pointers include:
- Put your lights on timers so that it looks like someone is home, even if they aren't. Vary the rooms and schedule of the lights so as not to portray patterns.
- Invoke your neighbors to collect your mail, or temporary stop delivery of mail and newspapers.
- Maintain your yard. If you'll be gone a long time, have someone cut your grass. If you'll be away in the winter, hire someone to shovel your snow, or at least have a neighbor leave a few footprints daily.
- Ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway.
3. Don't Advertise Trips on Social Networks
Be careful what you share online. Burglars have picked homes based on social network status updates. By sharing that you're "off enjoying an Alaskan cruise," or "hiking to see a waterfall in Hawaii," you're also indirectly advertising that you're not home. This makes you a much easier target for intrusion.
While you might be dying to share your latest vacation excursions with friends and family, err on the side of safety and save the photos and stories for after you return.