Vacation Safety Tips

Summer is here and one of the things that people wait for the last minute to do, is prepare their home for vacation. Burglars spend on average, less than ten minutes ransacking a home, so whether you go away for a weekend or a month, some of the same things should be done.

1)    NEVER announce your travel plans publicly. I used to read about people putting an article in a local paper about going on a cruise or taking an extended vacation to Europe. If you want to tell people about it, tell them once you are back.

2)    When it comes to vacation, the Social Media is not your friend. I see this everyday, people posting photos taken from someplace far from home. And they put cute captions like “Our first night in Yellowstone” You may as well post a sign on your front door saying “No one is at home. Come in and help yourself.”

3)    Don’t stop your mail delivery. Ask a trusted neighbor to collect your mail. When you stop your mail, a note goes on your mailbox in the post office. You may trust your letter carrier, but do you trust all of his or her co-workers too?

4)    Stopping your newspaper delivery isn’t as bad, since only your delivery person will know you aren’t home. If you don’t stop the delivery, have a neighbor pick up the papers. There is nothing more inviting to a burglar than to see several days worth of newspapers laying in the driveway.

5)    Put at least a few lamps on timers to make the house looked lived in. With the advent of LED light bulbs, you can have a house pretty well lit for literally pennies per day.

6)    Don’t leave a house key under the door mat or in a flower pot by the front door. If you have to leave a key somewhere, make it in a spot away from the front entrance.

7)    Don’t change the positions of your window coverings. If you normally keep your drapes open, leave them that way. If they are normally closed, that’s OK too.  Burglars look for things out of place.

8)    Remove any valuables from your bedroom. Put any jewelry, either in a safety deposit box, or hide it somewhere in the house where burglars aren’t likely to look. I have found some unique hiding spots, but revealing them here would defeat the purpose.

9)    Arrange to have your lawn mowed if you won’t be home for a few weeks. During the winter months arrange to have your walk and driveway shoveled if it snows.

10) Turn off the water for the house. At the very least, turn off the water for any appliances that have hoses hooked up, like a clothes washer or dishwasher. Blue Knight routinely installs flood sensors as part of the security system, but by the time the flood sensor alerts the central monitoring station, damage has already occurred. Better to come home to a large puddle in your basement than several feet of water.

11) Sometimes it helps to have a neighbor park one of their cars in your driveway. If someone is watching and seeing a car come and go, they won’t catch on that there may be no one at home.

12) Give a copy of your travel plans to a trusted neighbor, so in the event of an emergency, they can call you.

13) If you do have a security system, you can have your security professional make temporary arrangements for emergency call lists, etc. with the central monitoring station.

14) This list provides no guarantee to prevent a burglary, but it can certainly help. Even if you only do some of the items on this list, you can go on vacation and not have to worry if your home is safe. Enjoy your summer vacation.

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