It would be nice to have someone guard your house while you’re away. But for most of us, we leave our house vacant when we go on vacation. Keeping your home safe is important during vacation season. Here are some tips.
1. Get a House-Sitter
This is probably the closest thing to a “home guard” that you can get! If it’s in your budget, consider hiring a house-sitter. This person can take care of any pets in your home, and bring in mail and newspapers. A house-sitter can stay in your home the whole time you’re gone, or just stop by once or twice a day. He or she can turn lights on and off, and turn television and radios on and off at random times.
Your lawn says a lot about whether you are home or not. If it’s overgrown, it signals vacancy. If possible, hire people to mow your lawn in your absence. Also, overgrown trees and shrubs can obscure windows and doors, creating hiding spaces for burglars. Before leaving on vacation, trim vegetation back and, if you’re going to be gone for a while, hire someone to trim you shrubs and trees, too.
If you have children, sources recommend leaving a few toys out on the lawn. It looks like the kids are coming back out any minute! If you have a house-sitter, he or she can rearrange these toys each day, too.
3. Mail and Newspapers
Even if you don’t have a full-fledged house-sitter, ask a neighbor to bring in mail and newspapers. Otherwise, call the post office and newspaper to let them know the dates you’ll be gone and ask them to stop delivery during that time.
4. Your Car
An unmoving car parked in your driveway for days and days can be a “no one’s home” signal to thieves. See if a friend or neighbor can move your car now and then, or even park his or her car in your driveway every so often. It looks like activity is going on, and that’s the important message to convey.
Motion-sensing outside lights are a good idea. Make sure they are in good working order, and that any other outdoor lighting is up and running as it should be. Indoor lighting should be in good working order, too. Consider lamp timers so that lights can go on and off at seemingly random times.
Timers can be used for more than just lighting. You can attach them to any electrical device, such as a TV or radio. This means the radio or television will come on and go off at various times as if someone were home.
Don’t leave valuables in plain view. Computers, TVs, and electronics that can be clearly seen through your windows need to be hidden (or use curtains/shades on your windows). Jewelry, cash, or anything else valuable can be placed in a safe deposit box at your bank, or you can give your valuables to a trusted family member while you’re gone.