Are you planning on taking a vacation anytime soon? If so, this post is for you. Have you ever heard the old adage “when the cat’s away the mice will play”? We’re willing to bet you have. Why? Because it holds true for a lot of situations. The situation we’re focusing on today falls into that category. When you’re on vacation (you’re the cat in this analogy) your home is vulnerable to the mice, or rather, the burglars. So how do you prevent the mice from playing while you’re away? We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help make it appear that you’re home, even when you’re not.
Check, Double Check, and Triple Check Before You Leave.
Make sure your home is secure before you leave.
- Check each individual door and window in your home to make sure they are all locked. This includes basement windows, garage windows, second-story windows, balcony entrances, and the door that leads from your garage into your house.
- If you have sliding glass doors make sure that you lock the doors and reinforce them by wedging a wooden or metal rod into the floor track. If you would like to add a little extra security you can also screw pan-head sheet metal screws into the top track of the door to prevent it from being lifted off the track.
- If you’re leaving your car parked in the driveway, make sure to remove your garage door opener from the vehicle before you leave.
- Don’t leave your spare key under your welcome mat or underneath a pot. Chances are if your neighbors know where your spare key is located, anyone regularly canvassing the neighborhood will know where you’ve hidden it, too. If they don’t already know where to find your key, it won’t take them long to figure it out. Instead, make sure anyone who is supposed to be stopping by has a spare key to your home, car, shed, and anywhere else they will need access to, in advance.
Keep Your House Running On Routine.
Canvassers have lots of ways of identifying empty homes, but they all boil down to one thing: your routine. By keeping your house running on a routine you’ll significantly reduce the risk of them determining that your home is in fact empty.
- Keep window treatments (blinds, curtains, shutters, etc.) in their normal positions. Sudden changes in the routine can be a red flag to anyone regularly canvassing the neighborhood.
- Use automatic lights or timers on your lighting to help reinforce the illusion that you’re home.
- Leave a radio on to help add to the illusion that someone is home or will be returning shortly.
- Place a hold on your mail and newspapers. Bulging mailboxes and newspapers piling up on the front porch are a sure fire way to advertise your extended absence.
- Don’t allow yard maintenance to go unattended while you’re gone. Overgrown grass, dead plants, or an unshoveled driveway can alert canvassers to the fact that you’re not home.
- Don’t change your answering machine to reflect that you’ve left on vacation.
- If you have a landline lower the volume on the ringer and set the answering machine to pick up on the first or second ring so an endlessly ringing phone doesn’t signify that you’re not there to answer it.
Ask A Trusted Family Member, Friend, or Neighbor For Help.
Arrange for someone to routinely check on your home and provide them a spare key so they can check the interior and the exterior of your home. Arrange for that person to do the following:
- Check doors, and windows for signs that someone has attempted to enter the premises.
- Check the locks on doors and windows.
- Gather mail, packages, and newspapers and bring them inside.
- Take out the garbage if necessary.
- Take care of routine maintenance like mowing, watering plants, or shoveling if you’re traveling during the Winter months.
- Park in your driveway occasionally, or move the location of your car if it’s parked in your driveway to help increase the illusion of activity at the home.
- Make sure your trusted helper has your contact information and itinerary in case of an emergency.
- Don’t announce upcoming vacations or travel plans on ANY social media site! Criminals regularly watch for these posts to know when you’ll be away!
- Resist the temptation to post “live updates” from your vacation spot while you’re away.
- Turn off your location tracking while you’re away so that any social media posts you do make won’t automatically be flagged with your location.
Get Professional Help.
- Let your local police department know that you will be leaving town and ask that they drive by your home periodically during regular patrols.
- Have a professional security system installed and use it while you’re away!
- Make sure your security system and smartphone apps are set up to communicate while you’re away so you can keep a close eye on your home from wherever you are.
Have you checked off all the items on your pre-vacation security to-do list? Great. Now relax, you’re going on vacation.
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