Keep It Off Social Media
Don’t announce you are going away on social media and save your vacay posts for when you are back. Law enforcement officials say that criminals are now using social media more than ever to “case” homes. If you’ve created an event on Facebook or have an event running, make sure you remove your address from it. 75% of burglars admit to using social media to get addresses of people they know will not be home.
Lock Your Valuables In a Safe or Use A Safety Deposit Box
Any thief knows to check the bedroom first for valuables, so get a small safe and keep them secure. If shelling out money for a safe isn’t an option, put valuables in a safety deposit box at your local bank or leave them with a trusted relative.
Advertise Your Security System (Even If You Don’t Have One)
Having a security system will most definitely deter burglars, so advertise it! Post these stickers near your most obvious and accessible entry points like your front and back door, as well as side doors of your garage. You can even buy a pack of stickers if you haven’t been able to implement your security system before your next trip.
Disconnect You Automatic Garage Door Opener And Lock The Door
Technology can be easily hacked, especially by more experienced or motivated criminals. Many brands of garage door openers can be opened by universal remotes, so be very vigilant. Unplug or disengage your garage door opener and lock the garage door itself.
Pause Delivery On Your Mail or Newspapers
Mailboxes overflowing with mail and newspapers are dead giveaways that you aren’t home. Have a friend or family member stop by your house while you’re gone to bring in the paper and mail. If you can’t arrange that, then contact your newspaper service to stop deliveries and fill out a mail-hold form. If you have Amazon deliveries in transit, request that they are held as well.
Leave a Key With Someone You Trust
By having a trusted friend or family member stop by every day or two, you can avoid unexpected deliveries being left out and also have normal routines (watering plants, bringing trash cans to the curb) carried out. You can also invite neighbors to use your driveway if they need extra parking space. This gives the impression that people are coming and going.
Don’t Cancel The Gardner, Pool Cleaner or Maid Service
If you normally hire these services, do not cancel them. They should not need you to be home when they carry out their services anyway. Their presence gives the impression you are home. And, unless you have known these people for years don’t tell them you’re away either. Even though they may not be criminals, you never know who they work or associate with.
Invest In A Home Monitor System
Most quality home security systems allow you to view live video remotely from your phone, so you can see what’s happening in real-time. Additionally, some systems even allow you to answer your doorbell from a remote location giving the impression you are home.
A Hide-A-Key Is Not Fooling Anyone
Potential thieves will always look for the hidden key, and they will find it. Any spare key should be the one given to a friend or family member. Better yet, install a code lock or smart lock for your home.
Install Outdoor Sensor Lights
Motion-sensor floodlights can prove to be useful year-round for general home security whether you’re home or not, and often are equipped with technology to have them turn off and on at certain times of the day or when someone walks by them. A motion light turning on at odd hours can alert neighbors to unwanted visitors (especially when neighbors know you are on vacation).
Leave Room For Murphy’s Law
Murphy’s Law dictates that if something can go wrong it will. Make sure you set your thermostat and hot water tank on vacation mode. Turn off your water and any other utilities that don’t need to be on while you’re away. Unplug any sensitive electronics or nonessential electronics such as computers, or coffee makers. These sorts of checklist items will ensure you don’t come home to a basement flood or other home disaster that can easily be avoided.