In the era of smartphones, it's hard to resist snapping photos and posting to your Facebook page about how much fun you're having. However, before you head out of town, check your privacy settings and be sure you're comfortable about who is seeing the information you're sharing. Be sure to remove the location data so that potential bad guys can't easily see that you're far from home.
Many homeowners hide a spare key under a mat or outdoor flower pot for safekeeping. While it's certainly convenient when you accidentally lock yourself out of the house, it's also the first place a criminal might search. Retrieve the key and leave it with a family friend or trusted neighbor.
A large pile of newspapers outside your front door is a sure sign that the house is unoccupied. If you let the newspapers and mail pile up, thieves will notice that you're not home, making your house an easy target. Instead, have the post office hold all mail until you return home and put your newspaper delivery on hold. Alternatively, have a neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers.
Be careful how much information about your vacation plans you share with seemingly innocent strangers. Small businesses often hire summer help, so whether you're pausing your newspaper service or giving the dog walker a week off, share the details of your trip only on a "need to know basis."
Instead of turning everything off, use a timer to keep one or two lights on during evening hours. You can even use them to turn on a radio or television. This will make it difficult for the burglar to determine if you're home. If you don't have timers on your lights and appliances, ask a trusted neighbor to stop by at a different time each day/evening to throw off potential criminals.
So many homeowners simply forget about an open window or basement door, making it really easy for the bad guys. Before you leave, take a few minutes and walk the house to make sure everything is locked up.
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