17 Tips for Protecting Your Home While You're Away for the Holidays from 17 Tips for Protecting Your Home While You're Away for the Holidays

17 Tips for Protecting Your Home While You're Away for the Holidays

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17 Tips for Protecting Your Home While You're Away for the Holidays

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Taking some basic safety precautions while you’re on a vacation extravaganza doesn’t take much time, and it doesn’t have to break the bank, either. Burglar-proof your house or apartment with a few simple steps. Preparations extend beyond locking the garage door and asking a friendly neighbor to stop by and water the plants. 

Don’t brag online while you’re on vacation

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As much as you want to brag about the awesome hotel room you’re in with a stunning view of the beach, it’s best to post the pictures once you are home. Don’t advertise that your house is basically open to thieves. 

Buy a timer to switch lights on at night

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You obviously don’t want to leave the lights on all day, since this is not what happens when you’re home, right? A timer switch on your lights is a great deterrent from the opportunistic burglar. They are not expensive and you can find them at pretty much any hardware store, or Amazon. Set the timer for when it’s starting to get dark to make it look like you’re actually in the house.

Plan some exterior lighting

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Outdoor lighting, including wall and ceiling lights as well as patio lights, are also a great deterrent. Most people will hesitate to break into your home if they think someone can see them.

Don’t leave a spare key

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Hardly any thief would prefer to enter your house by breaking in if they have a key. And the places where people keep the spare are common – under a rock, in a jar, in the shed, above the door frame…Take the spare away and eliminate the chance of giving a burglar a free pass to your home.

Have a neighbor open and close the curtains

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The never ending debate is whether you should leave the curtains open or close when you’re away. The best way is to have a trusted neighbor come in the house and open and close them every once in a while. Leave them the way they normally are when you’re home. You don’t want to make any noticeable changes that may alert thieves you are probably not home.

Cancel delivery services

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If you have boxes outside your property delivered to you a week ago you’re obviously not home. And not only that, but it’s also obvious that no one is watching your home for you.

Hold your mail

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Check if Hold Mail is available for your address. Fill out a form online and specify the time period you’ll be away. If for some reason this is not an option for you ask a neighbor to collect your mail for you while you’re away.

Make sure window frames are not lose

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According to ABS research, as much as 60 percent of the security in victims’ home had been compromised because of a faulty deadlock or loose window frame that was easily jemmied open. Make sure burglars don’t have any, or at least not easy, way in.

Remove anything blocking the view to the front door

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It’s a good idea to have your front door and any other doors as visible as possible. Exposure increases the chance that neighbors will see if an uninvited “guest” is trying to get into your house. The mere fact that burglars can be easily seen is likely to discourage them from trying to break in.

Keep valuables away from the windows

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Remove anything valuable from sight. No one will want commit a crime and risk jail time over an old TV set or a lamp. Thieves usually look to be in an out. In case a burglar does break in to look for items of monetary value, the longer it takes for him or her to find them, the bigger the chance he or she may leave before finding them.

Get a dog alarm

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If you take your furry friend with you on vacation get a barking dog alarm to create the impression that at least he is still home. When a burglar enters the area of protection, it automatically starts barking like an irritated dog. From outside, it sounds like you have a very hostile dog inside. Even people who are not usually afraid of dogs will get scared.

Announce your home is under surveillance

Place security system decals on your doors, for example. Any labels saying that the house or apartment is being monitored are a good idea. An intruder will probably not risk finding out whether this is really the case.

Leave the car in the driveway

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It’s a good idea to ask a friend or a neighbor to park their car in your driveway at least occasionally to look like someone is coming in and out of the house on regular basis.

Get a house-sitter

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The best way to make it look like someone is living in the house is to have someone actually living in the house while you’re away. Just make sure that person is someone trustworthy. You can find house-sitter online as well.

Keep the lawn clean

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Make sure you have someone take care of your lawn (or remove the snow if it’s winter) if you’re away for a long period of time. A neglected lawn usually means no one is around. Hire a service to tend to your landscape or ask a friendly neighbor to trim the branches.

Unplug electronics

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In general, you don’t want unnecessary appliances plugged in because you don’t want to risk an electrical fire or power surge. Unplug the big TV, coffee makers, toaster ovens, computers, etc. Turn off the garage door. Bonus: This will also save you money. At the very least connect such items to a good surge protector that has a good rating and can withstand a large load of power.

Keep it cool

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There is no need for the heat to be on when you’re away. Save money on electricity while keeping the pipes just warm enough to prevent the pipes from freezing. This usually means setting a temperature around 55°F.