You’re finally going away on your well-deserved vacation! To ensure that you enjoy every single minute of it and not worry about what may happen to your house while you are away, consider the following ways to safeguard your house.
Secure the Entry Points
Consider installing deadbolt locks on all doors. Deadbolts are effective against a break-in because they make it very hard for burglars to kick the doors in and gain quick entry. If this measure is not possible, at least don’t forget to firmly lock ALL the doors, along with all the windows when you leave.
Be Smart With The Lighting
Although it’s a good idea to leave your lights on when you’re not in the house at night make it look like someone is home, leaving them on during the day will just tip the thieves to your trick. Consider buying a light switch timer that can be programmed to turn your lights on and off at the usual times.
Hopefully you have a good relationship with at least one of your neighbours. Ask them to keep an eye out on the house while you’re away, and don’t forget to bring them a little “thank you” gift from the exotic (or not so exotic) locale where you vacationed!
Tip off the Police
It might be a good idea to call the police to let them know if you’re going on an extended vacation – they just may do a random drive-by your house while on patrol in the neighbourhood.
Get An Alarm System
An alarm system is always a red flag for the burglar. In fact, security system yard signs and window decals alone serve as a deterrent to a break-in. You can either get an inexpensive unmonitored security system that will just set off a loud noise when activated and hopefully scare the intruder away, or you can invest in a monitored home security system that will notify the police and you that your house has been broken into.
(Some monitored systems also do other things like notifying you when there is smoke or other irregularities inside or around the house.)
Set Up Your Landline Phone
Never include in your voice message that you will be away on a vacation, and remember to clear your messages as frequently as you can. A “voicemail full” message says that you haven’t been home to check your messages. You should also turn down your phone ringers so passersby won’t be able to hear the phone ringing and nobody answering it.
Leave The House Looking Occupied
Keep in mind that any noticeable changes inside and around the house hint that the homeowners may be gone. So, leave your curtains exactly as you usually keep them when you're home. If you usually leave the curtains open, leave them open, but move expensive items, like any electronics or valuable décor pieces out of sight.
If you’re gone for more than two weeks, arrange to have your lawn mowed by a neighbour or a friend. If you’re vacationing in the winter, make sure that someone also removes the snow from your driveway. No tire tracks or footsteps on a freshly snow-covered driveway speak volumes that nobody has been around the house.
It goes without saying that you should also have someone pick up your mail, newspapers and fliers. Accumulated deliveries in front of the door are a sure sign for the burglar that nobody is home. But also remember to have a neighbour take your trash to the street on garbage collection days, or have them place some of their trash and recycling bins at your curb.
And leave a general impression that the house is being lived in. For instance, keep a lawn chair on the porch, and maybe a garden hose lying around to make it look as if someone has just been watering the plants.