It’s April, and if you’re like many people, you’re looking forward to a little rest and relaxation for spring break. Everyone deserves a break from day-to-day activities, but the last thing you want while you’re away on vacation is to have your home broken into. To increase home security and peace of mind, here are five simple steps homeowners can take to prevent break-ins.
Appearance Is Everything
While you’re away, make it look like you’re still at home. Use automatic timers to turn the lights on and off as if you were home. You can also leave a radio or other music on so the house isn’t quiet. Stop mail service so mail doesn’t overflow the mailbox, and put a temporary hold on newspaper delivery so the yard won’t be scattered with papers.
Skip the Social Media
Social media is great for bringing people together over long distances, but it can also be a global announcement that your home is unattended. If you must post updates and photos on your social media accounts, adjust the privacy settings so that only people you trust will see them. On Facebook, for example, the settings can be changed to “friends only” rather than “public.” Avoid mass posts, or better yet, wait until returning home to post all of the pics you captured on vacation.
Keep Valuables Out of Sight
Before you leave, do a quick cleanup of the yard. Put bicycles, lawnmowers, garden equipment, or any other outdoor items securely away in the garage or storage building. Take a walk around your home, looking in the windows as you go. If you can see high-priced items, such as flat-screen televisions, surround-sound audio systems, computers, gaming systems, or other valuables, consider moving them to a different location in the room. Do this walk-the day with the curtains or window coverings open and also again at night with window blinds or curtains closed but lights on. This will reveal exactly what is visible to potential thieves.
Check Doors and Windows
While making your way around the house, check doors and windows for damage. Torn screens or screen doors that don’t fully close might allow an easy entry for thieves. Replace or repair locks that don’t work. Before you leave, take one last walk around the house to ensure that every door and window is closed and locked. Placing a 2×4 or a broom handle in the track of sliding doors and windows will add extra protection and prevent them from opening if the lock is picked.
Inform Your Neighborhood Watch or Security Company
Even though you don’t want to advertise your absence, informing your neighborhood watch or security company can be beneficial while you’re enjoying spring break. Knowing that the house is empty will allow these trusted entities to better serve you by taking note of anything out of the ordinary and alert police if necessary.
The old saying still holds true: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” By taking advantage of these five simple steps, you can cure your worries about home security while you’re away.