Planning on going on vacation this summer? Even if you don’t have a monitored alarm system, there are things you can do to help keep your home safe while you are away.
1) Don’t Tell the World Your Plans
These days, without even thinking twice about it, we share the intimate details of our lives with friends, family, co-workers and even strangers through social media. While your intent in announcing your upcoming, week-long vacation to Hawaii may be to let everyone know you will be unavailable at that time, you have also just sent a message out to potential thieves that your home is going to be unoccupied – and ripe for the picking – for an entire week. This article tells about an Arizona man who found himself robbed after telling his 2,000+ Twitter followers he was going out of town!
2) Careful with Sharing
In the same vein, be careful when sharing information about your vacation while you’re on it. Updates to Twitter or Facebook, especially uploaded photos, let people know you are out of town as well. Remember, too, that things uploaded from a cell phone often automatically have location tags on them, telling people where you are when you uploaded the information. If you must share, send emailed updates to specific family members/friends only, and upload the rest of your vacation to your preferred social media sites once you return home.
3) Get the Neighbors In On It
An overgrown lawn can make a property look abandoned, so take care of any landscaping before you leave and if you’re going to be gone for a very long time, have a family member or neighbor come by and trim things up or hire someone to do so. In addition to making sure your lawn is cut before you leave and any shrubs obscuring windows are cut back, it’s a good idea to let a few trusted neighbors know you’ll be out of town and for how long. Ask them to keep an eye on your residence and to pick up any newspapers or other mail that might be piling up – anything that might make the home look as if it’s unoccupied for any length of time.
4) Leave the Lights On
Leave some lights on or have some type of home automation set up so that your home is not darkened and empty-looking for days and nights on end. Home automation can be purchased as an entire system, or be a simple set up using outlet timers and switches.
5) Lock It Down
Though it may seem elementary, be sure that everything is locked up tight before you head out. All windows, garage doors, basement windows or entrances, etc. Inside your home, it’s a good idea to make sure all valuables are doubly protected by locking them up in a safe or even, for your most valuable, leaving them in a safety deposit box at your local bank.
6) Careful With Away Messages
Don’t tell people on your voicemail or answering machine that you are out of town or for how long you plan to be gone. Also, be careful with automatic response email messages; only put these on your professional email accounts, where you are safe sharing such information.
7) Nix the Hidden Key
If you have a key hidden somewhere on your property, pick it up. That’s one of the first things thieves look for, and with you being gone for an extended time, they have all the more time to search for it. If you must leave a key for relatives or neighbors to check in on your home or pets and don't want to give them an actual copy, get a combination lock key storage box, like the one pictured here, and only give the code to those people you are trusting to check on your home.
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