It’s important to have peace of mind that your home will be safe while you’re away for the holidays. But don’t worry. These home security tips will help you to decrease the possibility of a burglar targeting your house:
1. CREATE THE ILLUSION THAT YOU'RE HOME
Set your house lights on a timer, so that they come on at specific times of the day. Also, light up your porch or yard with a timed controller. Of course, not everybody has these setups, but there are other things you can do. Leave your home’s shades and blinds as you typically do and park a car in your driveway. Arrange for someone to mow your lawn and clip your hedges if you plan on being away for more than a week. This is a super simple home security tip that makes it look like your family is not away. If you really want to go all-out, connect an old analog television or radio with a timer to create noise in your home.
2. LOCK ALL DOORS
Here’s a lesson from home security tips 101: Be sure to lock all your exterior doors securely—if possible, use thick cylinder locks. Millions of homes are broken into every year; making sure every door is locked is a good start to make sure you’re not one of them. Experts in home security tips say every exterior door should have a deadbolt. If your doors still have the same locks they had decades ago, it might be time for an upgrade. Do your research to find which types of locks tend to be more resistant to being picked.
3. ASK YOUR NEIGHBORS FOR HELP
If you have a neighbor that you trust, ask them to watch your property while you’re away—and do the same for them when they travel. Also, see if your neighbor can pick up your mail, circulars and newspapers, which also helps to create the appearance that you are at home. If a neighbor can’t assist you, and you don’t have any family members in the area, request that your post office cancel deliveries while you’re away and hold your mail.
4. DON'T ADVERTISE THAT YOU'RE ON VACATION
Some of the best home security tips have to do with what you shouldn’t do. Resist the temptation to write about your upcoming trip on social media sites. And wait until you return to post online all the great photos you’ve taken during your travels. Thieves can spot your posts on public feeds. Home security tips are only helpful if you make good choices, and broadcasting that you’re away from your home isn’t a good choice.
5. HIDE YOUR VALUABLES
Fill up a fireproof safe with your expensive jewelry, family heirlooms, the deed to your home, wills, and any other important documents that you want to keep safe. While you’re at it, you should also toss your home inventory in there. A home inventory is a room-by-room list of everything you own (and receipts when possible) that can help expedite the claims process in the event that they are damaged or stolen. You should also check with your insurance agent to see what’s covered from theft in your homeowner’s insurance policy.
6. INVEST IN A GOOD ALARM SYSTEM
Research the best types of alarm systems and be sure yours is working and set when you leave your house. Call your home security system provider prior to your trip to let them know you’re away. And be sure to advertise that you have an alarm system—in other words, post an alarm company sign in a prominent spot near your door to let potential thieves know your home has a system. It could scare them away.
7. UNPLUG APPLIANCES
It’s a good idea to unplug any unnecessary appliances such as computers, televisions, coffee makers, and microwaves to protect your property from an electrical fire or power surge while you’re gone. Also, if you’re traveling in the winter, you can turn down the heat to save money. But don’t turn it down below 55 degrees or you could run a risk of your pipes freezing. In the summer, turn down your air conditioning, depending on how hot you expect it to be while you’re gone. Consider these your home security tips for disasters not caused by greedy burglars.
8. FORM A CRIMEWATCH
Enlist your neighbors to create a group to keep an eye on properties in your community. Often, you can form a neighborhood crime watch with the assistance of your local police department. And, obviously, always report suspicious activity on your block as soon as you see it.