Making your house look occupied is one of the most effective ways to keep thieves and burglars away. These petty criminals are always on the lookout for an easy prey and having to deal with who knows how many people in the house is a huge deterrent for them. They just want to grab your stuff and run as quickly as possible.
The best way to make your home look lived in when you’re not there, is to leave it looking as close to the way it always is when you’re in it!
- Keep Your Lights ON
Although it may add a bit to your utility bill, leaving the lights on inside and outside when you leave the house is one of the surest ways to avoid a break-in. If you are going away for an extended time, connect some lamps in various rooms visible from the street and the backyard to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day.
- Cancel Or Arrange For Pick Up of Any Deliveries
Few things speak louder “nobody is home” than piles of newspapers on the porch and an overstuffed mailbox. Arrange with a friend —or ideally a neighbour—to pick up your daily mail. You may also be able to get the Post Office to hold your mail, and your newspaper publisher to suspend their delivery service for the length of time you will be away.
- Keep A Vehicle In The Driveway
It’s always a good idea to have a car parked in the driveway – this makes a thief reluctant to risk breaking into your home because someone just might be inside and call the police. If you are leaving for an extended vacation and you’re using your car, ask one of your next-door neighbours if they wouldn’t mind parking in your driveway for the few days you will be gone.
- Keep Your Lawn Well Maintained
Overgrown lawn suggests the homeowners are either lax about their curb appeal (in which case this suggests that they might be careless about other things as well, such as security), or away, but most likely the latter. Arrange for your lawn to be taken care of while you’re away.
- Have Your Driveway Cleared Of Snow
A smooth layer of snow on the driveway is a sure telltale sign that nobody’s been going in or out of the house. Ask your neighbour or friend to come and snow plow your driveway while you’re away.
- Generate “Lived-In” Noises
If you’re just going out for a few hours, you can leave the television or radio on to make it sound like the family has settled in for the night. For an extended absence, the same kind of timers you use on lights can also be used to turn a radios or TV on and off. There are also dog barking CDs available that can be programmed to go off at certain times.
- Maintain The Same Daily Pattern
Burglars often observe a house for a while to get a feel for the residents’ comings and goings and daily patterns. Try to maintain the same pattern for the time when you’ll be away. For instance, have your drapes and curtains raised and lowered at the same time (you can use an automatic timer or ask your next-door neighbour). Leave your furnace on so the furnace smoke stack forms at the usual time. Ask your neighbour to leave some of their recycle bins and garbage at your curb on the collection day. And even such small details as a cup of coffee left on the porch or an old toy (meant to be thrown out anyways) left in the front yard will say to the burglars that this house is occupied.