When you’re returning home after traveling, the last thing you want to encounter is a break-in, damage to the property, or worse.A little planning ahead can keep your home safe and secure, so that all you have to worry about is unpacking!
Tell your neighbors you’ll be traveling, and when.
They can attend to any trash pickup, take care of mail or packages, move your car or park their own in your driveway, and alert the police to any suspicious activity. Make sure they have your contact information and other relevant phone numbers (like your yard maintenance, plumber, insurance company, and vet if you have animals).
Put mail, newspapers, or other deliveries on hold.
Packages and newspapers left on your porch or an overly full mailbox clearly signal that you’re not home.
Leave a light on.
In addition to a car in the driveway, lights on at different times of day and talk radio (to sound like conversation) give the illusion of occupancy. Check your local home improvement store for options that will randomize turning the lights on and off automatically! Install motion detectors on your outside lights as an added security measure. An alarm system is an extremely effective break-in deterrent – and may reduce the cost of your homeowners insurance!
Lock ALL of your windows and doors, and clean up the yard.
This includes side, garage, second story, pet doors, and sliding doors; disable the automatic garage door opener if one is in place. Remove anything in the yard that could assist in breaking into the home, like rakes or furniture. Police recommend you do not hide a spare key outside unsecured; no matter how well you think it’s hidden, they’re too easy to find. Instead, use a lockbox or leave a spare with someone you trust.
Secure your valuables.
Put items like your will, important paperwork, jewelry, cash, or anything else that could be easily removed from your home in a safe deposit box while you’re gone.
Unplug any electronics but the refrigerator and freezer, turn down the water heater, and if you’ll be gone longer than a week, turn off your main water supply. (Bonus – you’ll save on your electric bill!)
Save the social media posts until you’re home.
We know you want to share the experience with all of your nearest and dearest, but your check-ins, text updates and photo posts send a clear signal to a would-be intruder that the house isn’t occupied! Even with the highest security settings on your social media account, it’s not worth the risk.