How you leave your home when going on a business trip or for vacation can have a major impact on the odds of it being burglarized in your absence. If you are taking a trip, there are some relatively simple and inexpensive steps you can take to secure your home and create the impression you are still there.
1. Use timers on lights.
For a few dollars you can by light timers to give the impression someone is at home. The key is to buy several timers, place them on lamps in different rooms in your home, and set them to go on and off at different times. Don’t forget early morning hours when you would normally awaken. Timers set in different places at different times will serve as a deterrent.
2. Make arrangements for deliveries.
Make arrangements with a neighbor, relative or friend to retrieve mail from your mailbox and pick up any newspapers or flyers. The post office will also hold your mail but give them a few days notice. You may also not want to reschedule delivery until after a couple of days after your scheduled return. This will help in case there is a delay or issues with your return back home.
3. Leave a radio on.
A radio uses very little power and when set to a talk station it can may provide just enough doubt in a perpetrator’s mind to move on.
4. Minimize who you tell you will be gone.
Sure you’ll want to brag a little but keep your travel plans to close friends and relatives.
5. Be cognizant of social media and smartphone GPS.
If your two hundred friends on Facebook know you are gone and even your current location, your odds of experiencing a burglary increase. Be smart with your online data.
6. Make sure your yard is tended to.
If you mow your yard right before you leave and are only gone for a week you are in good shape. However if you are going to be gone two weeks or longer you’ll want to make arrangements with a trusted neighbor or friend or relative. Avoid hiring a landscape company for a one or two time mowing project, especially if you haven’t done business with them before. You’ll also want to make sure bushes are trimmed and don’t provide cover for an intruder.
7. Consider a home security system.
If you have considered a system, a time when you are going on vacation is a good time to investigate further. Many home alarm company’s offer trial periods. Sure you could install cameras and check in while you’re on the road but who wants to spend vacation time worrying about their home?
8. Invest in a motion detector for outside lights.
Motion detectors can be surprisingly effective, especially in the short term. Eventually, neighbors and anyone else who pays attention will figure it out, but for a week or two of vacation they can do the trick.
9. Have a family member check in.
No matter how hard you try, there can always be something that occurs that needs to be caught in a timely manner. These can include a sump pump failure, a power outage or some other event that needs attention quickly. Make sure someone close to you has keys and is willing to visit your home at least every several days.
10. If possible, pack your car while it is in the garage.
Nothing telegraphs a vacationing family like an open trunk and a car that is being loaded with suitcases. You certainly don’t need to be paranoid, but use discretion.
There is no need to spend your down time worrying about your property if you have taken simple, common sense and affordable steps before leaving your property. Of course, nothing replaces a robust security system but there are steps you can take to improve the odds of the security of your home in your absence.