As you make your vacation to-do-lists, add this home security checklist to your calendar to ensure you come back to your home just the way you left it.
HOLD YOUR MAIL
Overstuffed mailboxes tip burglars off to an empty house. Contact your local post office up to 30 days in advance to notify them you would like your mail to be held for the duration of your trip.
KEEP YOUR LAWN TIDY
If you are going to be away from your home for an extended period, your overgrown lawn might signal no one is home. Consider hiring a landscaper or neighbor to mow the grass and trim some of the shrubbery to maintain the illusion that someone is around to take care of the lawn.
KEEP YOUR DRIVEWAY OCCUPIED
Fake out potential burglars by keeping your driveway occupied. Ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway from time to time.
DO NOT LEAVE SPARES OUTSIDE
As a homeowner, you should never leave keys outside, no matter how good you think they are hidden. Your keys could be found, which makes your home vulnerable for burglaries. Rather, leave your keys in the hands of a trusted neighbor.
Set-up a temporary emergency contact number. This could mean buying a pay-per-minute plan and phone while you are away or ask a friend or family member that you trust to be your emergency contact. Give them the information and access they need to be able to make or carry out decisions on your behalf should anything ever happen. You can leave a spare key with them and even set up a temporary access code on your home security system.
NOTIFY YOUR BANK
If you plan on using your ATM or credit card while on vacation, inform your bank of the destinations you will be visiting. By doing so, the bank will not flag unusual spending activity in these various locations. You also need to inform your home security company of the duration of your trip so they know who to contact in the case of an emergency.
PROTECT IDENTITY ON YOUR LUGGAGE
Never write your address on your luggage in case its contents contain any sensitive information that could lead criminals to target you. Instead, write the phone number of your emergency contact and/or home phone.
CANCEL DELIVERIES AND NEWSPAPERS
A cluttered doorstop does not look any better than an overflowing mailbox. If you have orders that have not come in yet, cancel them or ask a friend to pick them up for you. If you have a regular subscription that comes to your door, like newspapers, cancel or put them on hold until you return.
SET LIGHTS ON TIMERS
Put your lamps and radios on a timer. Having your lights and radio go on and off throughout the day will deter burglaries.
LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING
As exciting as your upcoming trip may be, avoid posting your vacation dates and locations. Posts might reach more people than expected, and you never know how is looking for an empty house to burglarize. Rather, post photos from your trip upon your return.
LOCK AWAY OR HIDE VALUABLES
If you have a home safe, use it to hide your valuables and sensitive information. If you do not have a safe, put your valuables out of sight or use a safety deposit box.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE FOR VACATION
Shut off gas and water to prevent leaks or fires
Unplug electrical devices to save energy
Lock and deadbolt as many doors and windows as you can