After months of spending more time at home than usual, you’re finally heading out of town for that long-anticipated vacation. You’ve created your itinerary and planned what you’re bringing. You’re excited to embark on this trip. Guess what? Criminals get just as excited about your vacation as you do, but for entirely different reasons. You’re out of town, but your stuff is still at home – ready and waiting for them.
So, what can you do lessen the possibility that your home becomes a target?
- Tell (the right) people. Putting up photos on social media while you are out of town, may not be the best strategy. You want to share your experiences – after all, you’re having a great time – but it might be best to wait until you have returned to post those amazing beach sunset photos or pictures of the 1000-year-old ruins you visited. These are messages to criminals that your residence is unoccupied and that they just might be able to help themselves to things in your house. Instead, make sure you tell your neighbors and another friend or two who live nearby. You need people to know that if they see anything unusual, they should take action. Maybe arrange to have someone stop by every day or two, just to check on things, water the plants, etc. A house that shows activity is a much less attractive target for a criminal.
- Stop the mail and newspapers. Nothing says, “No one is home” like an overflowing mailbox, or newspapers piling up outside your door. In addition, don’t order and schedule any packages to arrive too close to your departure date. They could be delayed and end up being delivered late, i.e. while you’re away, and packages sitting outside your home are an enticement to criminals that you don’t need.
- Lock the doors and windows. Seems obvious, right? But sometimes we get so accustomed to leaving an upstairs window open, or a side door unlocked, we don’t think about it. So, before you leave, check every window and every door and make sure they are all locked. Additionally, you’re not the only one who leaves a spare key under the door mat, the flower pot, or that decorative rock in the garden. Criminals know where to look – and they’re smart enough to check the back door too. Leave it with a neighbor or friend.
- Leave a car parked in the driveway. A car in the driveway, gives the impression that someone might be home. If you’re taking your car, see if one of your neighbors would like to park one of their cars there, even just occasionally. Anything that makes it look as though there is activity at the house is a good deterrent to a criminal.
- Light timers. These are a good way to at least make someone question whether you are home or not. In addition, if you have large windows that might give people the opportunity to see in, close those shades, blinds or curtains, so that when the lights are on, no one can see that there isn’t anyone actually in those rooms.
These few simple steps can give you more peace of mind while you’re away – and ultimately when you return.