Whether your favorite vacation is action-packed or intentionally unscheduled, taking a respite from your usual day-to-day life is an important part of recharging your batteries. But amidst the excitement of planning your time away, it’s crucial not to overlook the security of your home while you’re gone. After all, regardless of how rejuvenating your time is at the ocean or in the mountains – or somewhere else entirely! – coming back to a burglarized and ransacked home won’t just erase whatever refresh you’ve undergone, it’ll cause added stress that will set you back.
Here are a few things you can do to minimize your risk:
• Make sure windows and doors are locked. Before you leave, take a few extra minutes to check all windows, sliding glass doors, and other entryways to ensure they are properly locked. Don’t simply assume – it’s worth investing the time to have a final look. And consider installing lock guards and deadbolts for your ground-level windows and back or side doors ahead of time as well.
• Add exterior lighting and interior lighting. Although most burglaries happen during the day, dissuade criminals from targeting your home by having your property illuminated at the front door and any exterior entryways. Inside, set up automatic lighting timers or use a smart lighting app to simulate activity within your home.
• Put a hold on your mail, newspaper, and all other deliveries. Ask the United States Postal Service to hold your mail through Hold Mail. If you receive a physical newspaper, request that the service be put on hold until your return. If you receive any recurring subscription services through Amazon or similar, suspend those while you are gone.
• Keep valuables out of sight. Some burglaries are opportunistic crimes, so make sure you don’t leave any valuable items in plain sight. This includes items in the driveway or yard such as expensive bicycles (cover them with a tarp instead and secure them with a lock), as well as electronics like laptops or smartphones left in plain sight on ground-level floors that are easily visible from a window (better to stow these away).
• Have someone check your home while you’re gone. If you have a trusted neighbor, a friend that lives nearby, ask them to check on your house while you’re gone. They can do a walk-by every day to ensure that nothing looks off from the outside, and step inside your home every few days to have a quick look around and make sure all is well.
• Don’t broadcast your vacation on social media. Sharing your vacation plans on social media ahead of time or while you’re away gives would-be burglars a heads-up that you’re gone. Similarly, make it a habit not to allow geotagging on your smartphone.Even if you haven’t announced details of your vacation, letting strangers know your trip location lets them know they have ample time to locate your house and figure out the best time of day and method of getting inside without drawing unwanted attention. To play it safe, save the vacation photos and adventure stories for after you return.