Homeowners take great pride in their homes, as they should because it’s the one place where they can feel safe, secure, and at peace. However, when someone breaks into our homes, that feeling changes dramatically. A home invasion isn’t just about stuff being stolen, it robs the home’s residents of those feelings. They no longer feel safe in their own homes.
In 2019, there were more than 1.1 million burglaries in the United States and that number, 66% of break-ins happen at a residential property. As alarming as that sounds, you can do things to safeguard your house – especially when you’re going away for an extended length of time.
With these 10 tips, the next time you go on a vacation, you can rest a little easier knowing that your sanctuary is protected.
1. Locked up tight
Locking your doors and windows is the first step at securing your home, but that’s not enough. If you have any sliding doors or windows, consider putting something in the way to prevent the window or door from moving. Brooms, wooden dowels, and the like are excellent options. You can even find decorative door lock bars if you want something with style.
2. No deliveries, please
Burglars that are looking for their next target often look for homes with stuffed mailboxes, newspapers piling up in the driveway, and packages left outside. Why? Because these things are clear signs that no one is home and it’s ripe for plundering. So if you’re going to be gone for a while, call the newspaper delivery service and post office to put a hold on your deliveries. You could also ask a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member to go by once a day to pick up the mail.
3. Security, security, security
A home security system is a surefire way to keep your home safe, but instead of opting for an antiquated system, opt for a system that can connect to your smartphone. Smartphone compatible systems are excellent options because you can check in on your house 24/7. Not only will the security system alert you of any break-ins, it can also increase the value of your home when you get a home appraisal.
4. Yard maintenance
When you’re out of town, yard maintenance is probably the last thing that you want to think about. However, if the yard looks like it’s been neglected (the grass is too high, there’s untouched snow on the walkways, etc.), would-be burglars could realize that no one is home and then your home is now a target. You can get around that by asking someone to do minor yard maintenance while you’re away. If it snows, ask them to clear the steps, walkways and driveway. If it’s the rainy season, ask them to mow the lawn. You get the idea.
5. There’s a time for everything
Every household has a routine and burglars often take note of a potential target’s daily routine. While you’re away, hook lights, televisions, and radios up to timers around the house. As you’re setting the timers, set them to mimic your daily routine.
6. Dude, where’s my car?
If you’re able to, leave a vehicle in the driveway while you’re away. If there’s a car in the driveway, nine times out of ten, there’s someone home.
7. Make the hide-a-key disappear
Burglars often look under welcome mats, under rocks, and flower pots to see if the homeowner forgot to move their spare key. When they find one, it makes breaking into the house so much easier. If you keep a key hidden outside for those situations where you forgot or lost your keys, now is the time to remove the key from that hiding spot. Don’t give burglars an easy way in!
8. Vacation now, social media later
The closer it is to the start of your vacation, the harder it will be to keep your excitement contained. You might want to gush about your plans, where you’re going, and the awesome deal you got for the hotel… But you should keep these details to yourself because every post you make about your plans, you’re giving a would-be burglar information they can use to choose their perfect time to strike.
9. Hiding your treasures
As tedious as it may seem, when you take the steps to hide your valuables (jewelry, expensive electronics, laptops, bank information, etc.), you’re making your house look less appealing to burglars. If you don’t have a safe place for your treasures, just move them out of plain view. You don’t want to draw all the curtains because that could give burglars a hint that you’re not home.
10. House-sitting isn’t that bad
The best way to keep your home secure is to have someone there while you’re not – aka hire a housesitter. If you are able to have someone house sit for you, don’t have to worry about stopping the mail, keeping a car in the driveway or setting timers. You don’t even have to ask them to clean up the yard!
Going away on vacation is exciting, to be sure, but no one wants to come home to a house that’s been robbed. With these tips, that’s not something you have to worry about!