6 Simple Ways To Keep Your Home Safe While On Vacation

Joe Dickerson Group
Joe Dickerson Group
Published on August 6, 2018

Planning for a vacation is exciting, yet also can be distracting. Sitting at your desk at work, mentally going over what you’ll need to pack, visions of sandy beaches and cool water dancing in your brain – there’s not a lot of room to consider anything else.

But you need to make room

Crime rates increase drastically during common vacation times, such as the summer months and the winter holidays.

So, before you pack another beach towel and bathing suit, make sure you do these six things to protect your home from the burglars that may be lurking around your unoccupied home:

1. Check all doors and windows

2. Don’t let newspapers and mail pile up

3. Mind your landscaping

4. Make the home look occupied

5. Install a security system

6. Hide your valuables

 

1. Check all doors and windows

If you open your bathroom window to let the misty air out while bathing, don’t forget to lock it when you’re finished. Many people forget, which is why most thieves check the bathroom window first.

Thirty-two percent of burglars gain entry to homes through an unlocked front door. But locking the door doesn’t guaranteed that you won’t become a victim.

If the door is locked, many burglars will check the most common places homeowners hide the key.

But, not finding the key doesn’t stop them. “If they know you’re not home, many thieves will simply kick in the door or remove it from its hinges,” according to the pros at Crime Prevention Security Systems.

2. Don’t let newspapers and mail pile up

Another common thing that burglars look for is overstuffed mailboxes. Hire a neighbor to pick up your mail while you’re gone. Or, have the post office hold it for you.

Don’t forget to tell the newspaper delivery person to cease delivery for the period you’ll be out of town. A collection of newspapers in the driveway is a dead giveaway that nobody is home.

3. Mind your landscaping

Professional thief Michael Shayne Durden, who performed hundreds of burglaries in Texas over a period of 20 years, says that one of the things he looked for when casing homes was overgrown lawns.

Durden focused on neighborhoods with well-maintained homes, so a home with an un-mowed lawn, is a “dead giveaway” the owner is on vacation, Durden admitted in a jailhouse interview by the Allen, TX police department.

Then there’s that privacy landscaping around the front of the house. Sure, it keeps out neighbors’ prying eyes, but it’s something that burglars are happy to see. Just like you, they don’t want neighbors watching them, so a home with lots of cover becomes a target.

Before leaving on vacation, have your gardener cut back anything that provides a screen between the street and your windows and doors. If you need a referral to a great local gardener, just let me know. 

4. Make the home look occupied

The best way to deter a burglary while you’re out of town is to make the home look occupied. One of the best ways to do that is by parking a car in the driveway. If you’ll be leaving your car at the airport, ask a neighbor to use your driveway while you’re away.

Another way to make your home look occupied is to leave the blinds open and turn some lights on.

“I would drive through upper class neighborhoods looking for many things, like a porch light on with all window blinds closed,” says one burglar.

Keeping the blinds or drapes closed while on vacation can be one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make. So, open the window coverings, and get a timer that will turn on your lights at certain times of day.

5. Install a security system

Installing a wireless security system can be a major deterrent for many burglars. In fact, homes without security systems are three times more likely to be broken into, according to SecurAmerica.

Then, put a sign advertising the system (ensure that it says “wireless” on it) in both the front and back yards. 

6. Hide your valuables

The most commonly stolen items from a home include:

  • Cash
  • Prescription drugs
  • Jewelry
  • Electronics (TVs, gaming consoles, computers, iPads and smartphones
  • Firearms

Don’t hide any of these items in the master bedroom while you’re on vacation, because it’s the first place a thief will look. Consider putting jewelry in your garage, and mix it in with your tools. Or, put it in the ceiling or in the attic.

Burglars are in a home for such a short period of time, these are places they typically don’t get to.

Another common target is home offices, where thieves often find credit cards and financial records, including bank account numbers with routing numbers.

Recap

Planning for an upcoming vacation can be absolutely thrilling. I’ve been there. Dreaming of the sandy beaches, breakfast in bed, and not having to crack open your laptop for days.

The last thing you want to think about is security for your home. And this is exactly what burglars are banking on. So, before you head out of town, be sure to do these six simple things to protect your home while you’re on vacation:

1. Check all doors and windows

2. Don’t let newspapers and mail pile up

3. Mind your landscaping

4. Make the home look occupied

5. Install a security system

6. Hide your valuables

 

Before heading out the door, do a final walk-through of your home, ensuring that doors and windows are locked and that valuables are hidden away.

Then, go and have some fun!

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