Safeguarding your home before you leave for vacation
After returning home from a fabulous vacation, the last thing you’ll want to experience is the aftermath of a break-in that occurred while you were out of town. Such a dilemma can be heartbreaking and debilitating, which is why it’s so important that before you pack your bags and hit the road, you first take action to safeguard your home and deter would-be thieves from breaking into it.
Here are several tips for keeping your home and belongings secure while you're out of town and having the time of your life!
Never, ever, mention your travel plans on the Internet.
No matter how excited you are about your trip, the Internet is not the appropriate place to broadcast your enthusiasm.
Too often, people post messages and pictures that publicize that they'll be away from home for several days. According to Alexis A. Moore, president and founder of Survivors in Action, mistakes like this "invite predators to your home."
Instead of using social media and blogs to discuss your trip before you leave, wait until after you are back to post pictures from the trip and comments about how wonderful it was.
Maintain the appearance that your house is occupied, even when it's not.
If potential thieves are under the impression that someone is staying in your home, they're much less likely to break into it or snoop around the house.
Jonathan Frase, president of Frase Protection, Inc., a Memphis-based security and fire monitoring company, and Greg Polley, vice president of sales and marketing for Frase Protection, say that lighting is an important component in this strategy. "Invest in timers for lamps and porch lights. You can purchase alternating timed switches at the hardware store, which enable you to set varying times for your lights to switch on and off," they explain.
Another tip Frase and Polley offer is to have someone stay at your house at night or stop by your house at least once a day to pick up your mail. If this is cost-prohibitive for your budget, Frase and Polley say the second best option is to have the post office hold your mail temporarily.
Philip Farina, CPP, CLSD, a personal security expert with Farina and Associates, Ltd., suggests leaving a car parked in your driveway rather than inside the garage while you're gone. "This will also give the impression that someone is at home," he explains.
Ask people you trust to keep an eye on your home for you.
Shyness or embarrassment shouldn't prevent you from reaching out to others for help in looking after your home. A few days before you leave for vacation, Frase and Polley encourage you to notify your local police department about your plans. "Many police departments will drive by and check your house at least once a day if you inform them of your out-of-town dates. Some even have a website feature where all you have to do is fill out a form to let them know."
Another smart strategy is to ask a trustworthy neighbor for a few favors while you're out of town. "Ask them to set aside any packages or mail so that things are not piling up on your doorstop. Have them be your eyes and ears," says Moore.