This Thanksgiving holiday, more than 13 million Americans will travel to spend the holiday with friends and family, leaving their homes empty for opportunistic burglars.
Experts in home security say that the key to keeping your home secure while on vacation is simply to make your home the least appealing target on your block.
Protecting your home while on vacation is just as important as protecting the items you bring with you. This must-read guide will keep your home safe!
Don’t Post Your Travel Plans Online
While using social media may be a convenient way to keep in touch with friends, sharing your itinerary can cause problems while you are away from home. At the very least, make your accounts private, so only your friends and family can see what you’re up to.
Lock Up Everything
Before you leave for vacation, be sure you physically secure and check all windows and doors. Lock every point of entry including windows, doors, sheds, garage doors, etc. Locking your home makes it less attractive to opportunistic burglars. If you don't make it easy, there's a better chance that when you get home, your house will be in the same condition as you left it.
Tip: If you have an alarm system for home security, don’t forget to arm it before you go on vacation. It helps to make a list of things you need to do before leaving the house the day of your trip so that you make sure to set the alarm and double check the doors, especially if you are in a rush and are worried you might forget.
Disconnecting the power to some of your electronics (such as your desktop computer, coffee pot and television) can save you money while you're gone and eliminate the worry that you've accidentally left them on by mistake. Turning off your garage door is also an effective way to keep thieves from opening it with a universal remote.
Tip: Don't leave a portable GPS in your car when you use long-term parking at the airport. It can alert thieves that you're not home and give them a convenient map right to your house.
Shut Off The Water
Bursts or leaking pipes can make you quickly forget all about your relaxing vacation. Shutting off the main water supply may help eliminate the possibility of plumbing problems when you are out of town. Insulating pipes and keeping the heat on during a cold snap will help prevent burst pipes.
Leaks can happen at any time and should one happen to spring while you’re on vacation, you won’t have to deal with gallons of water in your home and the resulting water damage it leaves behind if you turn the water off.
While it may be tempting to turn the power off while you’re away to save money, leave it on and install timers on lights to help create the illusion that the residence is still occupied. This will help deter any would-be burglars looking for an easy target.
Talk To Your Neighbors
Tell your closest neighbors you’re going out of town and ask them to watch your home. An observant neighbor can alert you to strangers lurking around and even help keep the grass mowed or the walkways shoveled while you’re away. By leaving them a key they can enter the home if there’s an emergency or even turn lights off and on periodically.
If you have a neighborhood watch group in your area, you can ask them to keep an eye on your home too. It's another way to make sure someone reliable is paying attention to the premises while you're gone.
Tip: Keep track of all the keys to your home and make sure they're in safe hands. Locking your doors is important but up to 50 percent of burglaries involve the use of a key. Don't hide a key outdoors in a protected spot either. Burglars know the best hiding places better than you do. Be sure if you do keep a spare key hidden that it’s in a very uncommon place.
Returning from Vacation
When you get back from your trip, be sure you inspect your home thoroughly upon your return. Look for signs of entry or missing items. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, be sure to call the police immediately. It’s a good idea to wait outside the home until help arrives and when they do be sure to allow them to collect fingerprints and evidence. Be sure not to allow anyone to walk on the lawn or touch/remove anything until the police have left.
Utilize these Thanksgiving safety tips this holiday season, and be thankful for your home and family’s safety.