Maintain Your Routine
One of the biggest tip-offs that no one’s home is a general lack of activity – things like long grass, an overflowing mailbox, flyers stuffed in the door, newspapers on the driveway and a porch light that’s been blazing day and night since last Friday. You can handle almost all of these birds with one stone – talk a friend or neighbor into stopping by every day or other day for basic housekeeping. Mention any packages you might be expecting, ask them to put your bins away on garbage day, and be sure to fork over a key for easy access. If you keep a key under the mat or in the flowerpot, bring it inside before you leave.
Get a few inexpensive light-switch timers for interior lights, and stagger the programming so certain lights come on and go off at varying times. If you normally leave shades or blinds open, don’t close everything up tight. Just be sure to move valuables out of sight.
Long trip? If you’ll be gone longer than a week or so, find a neighborhood kid or lawn service to cut the grass. You can also make it easy on your friend and stop the mail and the paper while you’re away. And if you have an active neighborhood watch group, let them know about your trip.
Keep it Quiet (Mostly)
We share everything on social media, but announcing your impending departure is a bad move. Don’t mention your holiday online until you’re home with the stories and pictures to prove it. But be sure to let a trusted neighbor know that you’ll be gone, and tell them that a friend will be dropping by while you’re away if that’s the case. When it comes time to pack, try to be discreet – load suitcases into the car while it’s in the garage, if that’s an option, so you aren’t advertising your upcoming absence to the world.
Unplug This, Plug In That
Cut the power to electronics like the computer, television and coffeepot. You’ll save money, and you won’t have to wonder what you left on. Disconnecting the garage door will prevent access from universal remotes. And turn the air conditioner up to a higher temperature than you’d have if you were home, but don’t turn it off. A silent A/C unit on a hot summer day is a clear sign nobody’s home.
Consider installing low-voltage outdoor lighting around the perimeter of your home to make it less attractive to thieves. There are plenty of cheap, attractive exterior lighting options, and there are plenty of affordable solar choices too.
Arm your security system before you leave, and if you don’t have one, consider the investment. Studies show again and again that homes with working security systems are far less likely to experience theft. If you aren’t ready to take that leap, buy window decals or yard signs from an alarm company – these alone might be enough of a deterrent to anyone looking for an easy break-in.
Keep it Secure with the Touch of a Button
Even better, modern technologies makes security easier than ever. From monitoring your home through a high-definition, live-stream video to controlling appliances and lighting, these 10 gadgets can help protect your home so that you can have peace of mind while on holiday.