Are you ready for a vacation? While planning your trip, be sure to protect your home — and everything inside it — by keeping up appearances that you are still home. In order to enjoy your vacation to the fullest, here are some precautions you may want to take before you leave:
1. Keep your lawn mowed and watered in summer and your driveway shoveled in winter: Long grass and untouched snow are key indicators that no one is home, so it may be worth asking or hiring someone you trust to do this in your absence.
2. If you have a car outside, ask someone to move it around periodically: Similarly to your lawn/snow, if your car sits stationary for a period of time, someone might notice and realize you aren’t home. Moving your car or driving it around the block will maintain the impression that you are in and out.
3. Put your mail and newspaper deliveries on hold: Sure, your mailbox is enclosed. But if you get any packages or newspapers on your doorstep and don’t pick them up, it is a clear sign that no one is home. Even if you don’t order anything, put deliveries on hold in case something shows up unexpectedly.
4. Use timers on electronics, including exterior and interior lights and a TV/radio: Leaving off the lights for a week is suspicious, but it can also be a bad idea to leave lights on at all hours. Additionally, burglars are more likely to think you are home if they hear the TV or radio on.
5. Don’t post about your vacations on social channels before you leave or during your trip: We know it’s hard not to share what a great time you’re having, but you never know when your posts can end up in the wrong hands. It’s best to unplug and wait to share the details until you get home.
6. Lock your home (windows, doors, garage entrances) and keep expensive items out of window sight: You don’t have to close all your blinds (in fact, you shouldn’t if you don’t normally), but be sure to lock every single window/door in your house, and lock small but pricey items in a safe.
7. If you have a pool or fountain, keep the water circulating: Turning off your water that is usually running may be an indicator that you are gone, so it’s best to leave everything running (just like you would keep your sprinklers on schedule).
8. Consider purchasing a front door device such as Ring so you can see and speak to anyone who approaches: This new tool is very useful, as you can two-way speak with someone at your front door. If it is maintenance or sales, be sure to tell them “not right now, we’re busy” instead of “we’re not home”. If it looks suspicious or they don’t leave, always call the police (and tell the person you’re doing so).
9. Lower the volume or shut off the ringer on your home telephone: If someone is casing your home and continually hears the phone ring to voicemail, they may realize you are not home.
10. Ask a trusted neighbor or hire a house sitter to keep an eye on your home and to alert you and the police of any suspicious activity: After all, there is no better protection than a nosy neighbor! Those who are looking out for their own home are, by default, looking out for yours too.
Implementing these tips will help maintain the impression that you are home and may decrease your risk of a burglary occurring. Although simple, sometimes these tasks fall by the wayside in the chaos of planning and packing, so be sure to reference this list as you prepare. After all, we want you to relax, kick back, and enjoy your vacation without worrying about home!