Don't let the anticipation of a well-deserved holiday blind you to the risks of leaving your home unprotected.
Before you head off on your beach, camping, or city holiday, taking a few security steps before you leave can make all the difference.
1. Consider hiring a house-sitter
The best way to make sure your house is safe while you're gone is to have someone you trust still living in it. You may be lucky enough to have a relative or friend who'll move in temporarily and water the plants, feed the pets and pick up the newspapers, If not, there are services you can use for house-sitting and pet-sitting while you're away. This can be a pricy option, but it's a solution that touches all the bases.
2. Hold your mail
When you're leaving for more than a couple of days, call your local post office to stop mail delivery until you get back. They can hold mail from three to 30 days. In many locations, you can even submit a stop mail request online. Just enter your address and stop and start dates.
3. Stop newspaper delivery
A pile of yellowing newspapers on the doorstep is a sure sign your home is unoccupied. Stopping the newspaper when you’re on holiday is an easy detail to forget and one that can make your home a sure target.
4. Keep eyes on your property
Whether it's a neighbour or relative, nothing beats having a person check the premises every day or two while you're gone.
5. Make your home look lived in
An occupied home looks lived in. Lights go on and off, and cars come and go. When you're away, everything stops. To help create the illusion that the residence is still occupied, invest in timers that turn on the interior lights for a few hours every evening. If you can get a neighbour to take out your bins and return them when they’re empty, it's another way to send the message that everything is proceeding normally at your house.
6. Keep the landscape trimmed
If you mow your lawn every week, and things start to look overgrown and neglected, it's easy to come to the conclusion that you're not around. If you plan on being away for an extended period of time, hire someone to take care of the landscaping chores in your absence.
7. Lock up
This seems so obvious, but it's easy to forget. If you keep a window unlocked to allow the cat easy access, or never bother to turn the deadbolt on the kitchen door, now's the time to reconsider your home security. Locking your home makes it less attractive to opportunistic burglars.
8. Don't advertise your moves
Show some caution when you talk about your trip. For example, Facebook probably isn't the best place to announce that you'll be away from home for a month. Being aware of who's around when you discuss your trip in restaurants and even at work isn't a bad idea either. Make sure that your children are discreet, too. You don’t have to be suspicious of everyone you meet, but even a chance remark has the potential to lead to an unfortunate consequences. The less information you put out there, the less likely it is to reach the wrong ears and eyes.
9. Install added security features
Installing a home security system
or even just exterior lights that run on timers is a good way to ramp up security around the old homestead and make your house safer whether you're around or not. One of the nice things about these features is that they're working when you're awake, asleep, on holiday or hosting an outdoor barbecue. They fade into the background, but still make your property less attractive to opportunistic thieves.