Nothing could sour your vacation memories like arriving home to find your house burglarized. Here are eight easy steps to ward off the bad guys.
- Make neighbors aware and vigilant. This is where it pays to have established relationships with your neighbors. Knowing that you will be away helps neighbors spot anything amiss.
- Hire someone to tend to your landscape. Get a reference on a lawn care service to tend to your lawn and shrubs while you are gone. An overgrown lawn is a tip off to criminals, and overgrown shrugs provide a nice place for thieves to take cover.
- Use light timers. This is especially helpful in the evenings when you would normally be home. Put several timers around the house, turning lights on and off at various times. Newer models allow you to control things through your smartphone. Also, leave blinds in the positions you would normally keep them. Blinds shut tight are a tip off that no one is home.
- Have your mail held. It’s easy to do via the USPS website. Don’t forget to have your newspaper held, too.
- Watch what you say on social media. Declaring to the world that you cannot wait to leave on a certain date for two weeks in the Bahamas is a dead giveaway to thieves trolling Facebook. This would be a good time to check your privacy settings on your account and limit viewership to friends only.
- Keep your garbage date. Have a neighbor set your garbage out on pick-up day and then return the cans.
- Staying one step ahead. Police are now linking home break-ins to cars stolen at the airport. Criminals are breaking into vehicles, hot wiring the cars and driving them to the home addresses set in the GPS. Stay one step ahead of these enterprising criminals by clearing the GPS before leaving your car.
- Don’t leave the key under the mat. If you have neighbors entering your home while you are away, give them a key. Don’t leave it for them under the mat or a piece of statuary where a thief could easily find it.