Thieves are very much opportunists, and there is no better opportunity for them to ply their “trade” as when a home is left unattended. Many house thieves cruise neighborhoods, including the media and internet, to look for signs of houses that may be left uninhabited for a time. To return home after an exhilarating holiday or family reunion to find your residence has been burglarized can be an extremely devastating and costly experience. A holiday can also be unnecessarily ruined if you spend your time worrying about the safety of your property and belongings. The following steps can help you to protect your property while you’re away so that you can enjoy both your time on vacation, and your return home.
Ask a Neighbor to Keep an Eye Out
Neighborhood Watch is successful for a very good reason. Asking a neighbour to keep an eye on your property to look out for unusual happenings is a front-line defence against burglars. Let them know if you’re expecting any deliveries or the gardener to come by so that they know exactly what to expect. You could even go the extra mile and give them a key so that they can collect your mail, water your plants, or if you have pets, feed them. Another great thing about having a neighbour check in every now and then is that they open or close your blinds and curtains in alternating rooms. All such things give the impression that someone is at home.
Invest in a Light Switch Timer
Leaving the lights on will only run up your electricity bill; besides, thieves look to this as a sign that no one is really home. It’s better to invest in a timer that you can program to turn off different lights at different times. This gives the impression that someone is in the house, while having the same lights on all the time is merely an indication that no on is there.
Don’t Broadcast Your Plans on the Internet
If you wish to inform friends of your upcoming trip, do so by phone call or email rather than posting it as a status on sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Criminals regularly cruise such sites looking for that sort of information. Additionally, don’t constantly post updates about where you are and what places you’re currently visiting on social media. You’ll also want to be careful about any message you leave on your answering machine. Don’t change it to let people know that you’re away, as this is another method criminals use to “fish” for their quarry.
Make Sure You Have Adequate Outside Lighting
If the yard and property surrounding your home is adequately lit it serves as a great deterrent against home thieves. Make sure all of the lights are working before you go, install an additional light or two if you can, and ideally place them on a timer to come on when it gets dark.
The above are all efficient ways of deterring a thief, but none of them will be effective if you don’t sufficiently secure your home. Make sure the locks on your doors and windows are adequate, and if not have new ones installed. The expense of doing so could end up saving you a good deal of anguish and cash. Besides, your home will be more secure in general. As an additional precaution, make sure that your property is fully insured before you go in case the worst does happen. At least that way you will be compensated financially for any loss or damage.