Here's seven ways you can make your vacant home (while you're traveling) totally uninteresting to burglars casing your area for break-ins.
Be an illusionist. Leave a TV and lights on, or use a timer that will make these devices go on and off. If you're leaving a car behind, park it in the driveway. If not, ask a neighbor to park in your driveway. If you'll be gone longer than a week, arrange for someone to mow your lawn. If a snowstorm is anticipated during your trip, arrange for driveway shoveling. Leave cheap items outside so that burglars think you're home, like a child's bike, a skateboard, a few garden tools or an unfinished (but non-valuable) project.
Mail stop. Request that the post office put your mail on vacation hold. Also put a hold on any newspaper subscriptions. It's not always smart to have a neighbor collect these things; what if that person forgets or becomes sick?
- Whether or not you have a home security system, stick signs in your yard and stickers on your windows advertising a security system. Better yet, if you already have a system, use signs from another company to prevent burglars from using specific tricks to break into your particular system. Install fake surveillance cameras.
Don't be social. Avoid announcing your travel plans on social media. Don't trust security features. The world can wait until after you've returned to announce your trip and view your photos.
Should you tell anyone? Yes, a trusted individual. Give that person your contact information and spare key.
Alert your home security company of your trip. Make sure the alarm is working before you leave.
Lock up valuables. This doesn't just mean jewelry, but sensitive papers like bonds, wills, checkbooks, etc. Use a safe. If you don't have a safe, ask yourself what's stopping you from getting one. They run as low as $40 and are fire-retardent. If the trip is unexpected, put jewelry in Dixie cups and place in the food pantry near the soda bottles. What thief will ever think to look inside paper cups in the food pantry?