When you leave your home for an extended period of time, like for vacation, you quickly become an easy target for a home burglary. Thieves are always on the lookout for easy marks and there’s nothing easier than a vacant house. There are some important steps you can take before you leave for long periods of time to make sure that you don’t become an obvious target. Next time you plan a vacation be sure to mind your home before you leave so you don’t have any nagging regrets during your trip or come back to a crime scene.
One of your biggest assets when you leave for vacation is going to be a good relationship with your neighbors. Having someone trustworthy for a few favors will go a long way in making your life easier while you’re away and your home a less obvious mark.
One of the easiest things you can do to deter theft during a vacation is put a hold on your mail. This can be done with a quick phone call to the postal service. An alternative is to call on that trusty neighbor of yours and have them pick up your mail daily. If you have a newspaper subscription you could lend it to a neighbor without one for the duration in exchange for picking up your mail. When the mail starts to pile up your house starts to look like an easy target so be sure to put a hold on it for the duration or have a friend or neighbor pick it up.
This one might seem obvious but you need to be thorough in a last inspection of the house and make sure that all of the doors and windows are locked. There’s no worse feeling than leaving for vacation and wondering if you remembered to lock up all the doors and windows. For this reason, one great tip is to do something weird while locking up so you can distinctly remember and not have to worry about it later. For example, you could could to three in another language or spin in a circle after locking up and you won’t have to worry about it during precious vacation time so much.
When you leave your home for vacation you should think about installing a programmable light timer that can periodically turn on and off your lights while you’re gone. If your lights are either permanently off for an extended period it becomes clear that you’re out of town and your home becomes susceptible to robbery. Alternatively, it seems suspect (and also racks up a large electric bill) if you leave some of your lights on for the entire time as well. By getting a programmable light timer you can create the illusion that somebody is home and deter potential thieves.
There are a few more small things that you can do to minimize the chance a burglar realizes that nobody is home. If you’re gone for a long period of time and have a lawn get a neighbor or friend to mow it occasionally. An unkempt lawn in an otherwise tidy neighborhood is a dead giveaway. Also, if possible get someone to park in front of your house if you don’t regularly use a garage. Lastly, don’t leave a message on your voicemail saying that you’re out of town and when you plan to get back. If someone is casing your house and get a hold of your phone number this voicemail would be a big green light to go forward with their plans.