Given the significant amount that I travel, I have been extremely fortunate to have never had any security issues at my home while I was away. In fact, on many occasions I have pulled into my driveway after a long trip, happy to see the many delivered parcels and packages that sat there for weeks. This is a testament to the goodness of my neighbors.
It is a fact that prowlers may study a neighborhood to understand people’s schedules and always look for easy targets. Before you leave your home empty for an extended period of time, it is important to take some measures to protect your biggest investment. If you don’t have an expensive home security alarm system, here are some simple tips you can consider:
1. Don’t announce to the world you are leaving
This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised how easy it can be to slip and disclose you are leaving to strangers and acquaintances. Conversations can strike up in every day places like walking the dog down your street, when going to the bank, or standing in line at the mall. If someone is privy to your address and you announce you are going on a trip, this could potentially invite issues. Be mindful to keep your travel details private.
2. Stop your mail and newspaper delivery
Nothing makes it more obvious to everyone on your street that you are gone as a bulging mailbox and piles of newspapers in your driveway. If you are gone for more than two days, it is worth your while to stop these services. I must stop my mail for each trip I take, and it takes a few minutes to log into the USPS.com (United States Postal Service) to request a hold on mail delivery. There is even an option for the mailman to deliver all the held mail when you return thus sparing you a trip to the post office yourself. The process works very well, and I have never experienced any issues with it.
3. Put interior lights on a timer
It is a good idea to invest in timers for some key lights inside of your house. Choose a few lights in rooms that are visible from your front and rear windows. This makes it seem that there is movement in the home, possibly deterring prowlers. There are easy and inexpensive timers you can buy (a pack of two for $20) that plug right into your wall outlet, and include a place where you simply plug your table lamp into it.
4. Install motion sensor lights outdoors
Consider installing motion sensor lights on the front, rear, and side doors of your home. This triggers exterior lights to come on instantaneously if someone approaches. The easiest way to get this feature is to purchase a new light fixture pre-installed with motion detectors. There are probably kits to add motion sensors to your existing lights, but it may be more complex to install.
5. Hide the most valuable of valuables
If there are a few items that would absolutely devastate you if they were stolen (an heirloom piece of jewelry, etc) take the time to move them to your safe deposit box at the bank, leave them with trusted individuals, or hide them really, really well. I like to take certain documents and valuables that I often keep in my bedroom (a spot many burglars automatically run to) and move them to a strategic location in my house. Just make sure you don’t forget where you put them (which of course I have done)!
As always, I wish you all happy and safe travels!
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