Home break-ins tend to peak during July and August, when many so people go away for extended vacations. Paying for a house sitter gets expensive fast and isn't a practical option for most people. Keep your home safe even when you're away with a few simple tips.
Cleaning up Exterior Clutter
A pile of newspapers and uncollected mail on your stoop telegraphs to burglars that you're not home. Prevent this from happening by arranging for a neighbor to collect these items or by stopping your mail. At the United States Postal Service website, you can complete an online form in a couple of minutes and select the date you want mail service to resume. Separately arrange with the newspaper vendor to withhold delivery while you're gone.
Also rethink that spare-key hiding spot that's fooling no one: A thief scoping out the joint will quickly check under flower pots, false rocks and other common hiding spots. Leave the key indoors until you return, or give the key to a neighbor who may be coming over to water plants, feed pets or keep an eye on the house.
Finally, take a few minutes to neaten up your yard, as an unkempt yard can also signal to someone that no one cares about the property.
Prepping the House Interior
Safeguard valuables in a safe deposit box, home vault or other secure area. Also turn off your computer, since a thief may be able to access financial information from a home computer left on during your absence. These worst-case measures will help protect your valuables in the event of a break-in, but you'll also want to burglar-proof your home.
Before you leave for your vacation, check that all windows and doors are securely locked. Do keep your curtains at their normal level, since closing all the blinds might tip off a would-be thief that you've left. Since a darkened house is a dead giveaway that no one is home, use timers on lights to simulate activity in the house. If you have a land-line phone, consider turning down the ringer since an unanswered phone may tip off lurkers.
If you have an alarm system, set it just before you leave. If a neighbor will be checking on your home while you are gone, don't forget to pass on the alarm code so they can enter your house safely.
Finally, keep mum on social media and on the street. While it's fine to tell friends about your upcoming trip, you never know when the wrong party may overhear your talk or see a Facebook check-in and take advantage of a quiet house.
For more home & outdoor ideas, check out the rest of the Home Channel TV blog!