Around the House: Keep Your Home Safe While on Vacation
By Yehudit Garmaise
While relaxing in the shade in the country, an anxious thought can sometimes creep in: “Is my house safe back at home?"
By putting a few security protocols into place, vacationers can feel assured that their homes will remain safe and secure.
1. Partner with family members, friends, or neighbors to serve as house-minders for each other. Keep an eye on each other’s homes by walking or driving by at least once daily to pick up mail, fliers, and packages. Your friends should have your keys, door codes, and alarm codes to come in and ensure everything is in order. Make sure you leave them your contact numbers, as well. If you have asked more than one person to check on your house, be sure to tell them about each other to avoid unnecessary scares and 911 calls.
2. Create the appearance that you are home by canceling your newspapers, magazines, and mail if you don't have anyone picking them up for you. Keep lamps and lights on timers that go on at different times each night. Keep your air conditioner unit on as well for the summer.
3. Maintain your regular home services, such as lawn maintenance and garbage collection. Untended homes can look uninhabited and like easy targets.
4. Lock up your valuables in a safe deposit box or in other hidden safes in the house. Don’t leave jewelry, expensive silver items, laptops, phones, cash, and other valuables out where they are easy to spot through windows. Don’t make it tempting, nor easy for thieves to take your belongings.
5. Prevent electrical fires: Unplug all your electronics (other than the air conditioners, lights, and lamps on timers) before heading up to the country. Before you lock your door for the summer, walk around your home and unplug everything that is plugged in: computers, lamps, coffee makers, and alarm clocks: not only to avoid paying unnecessarily for utilities that you are not using, but to reduce the risks of electrical fires while you are gone.
6. Install security cameras and ensure they are working before you leave so you can access remote images of your home on your phone and computer for peace of mind.
7. Install alarms and make sure they are working before you leave. Home alarms should make extremely loud sounds and alert the police when anyone enters homes without first punching in codes.
8. When you return from vacation, check for signs of a break-in before you enter. Once you are inside, walk around to ensure no items are missing and everything remains as you left it. If you notice signs of forced entry: don’t enter your home and call 911 immediately.
9. In the case of a burglary: Always file a police report to have a chance of recovering your stolen property.