How scared should you be when you leave your house before your trip? Every time I leave on a trip, I triple check every window and door to make sure I locked all of them. Luckily the worst thing I have come home to after a trip was my house being toilet papered and egged by an angry ex boyfriend when I was in middle school. I was just happy I wasn’t robbed until I realized he had put honey on my door knob.
The last thing you want when you come home from your vacation is to see that your house has been broken into or robbed. A house left empty while traveling is a target for criminals. I’m not trying to scare you, but I’m trying to give you the facts of life. Obviously, your location can also be a factor to how vulnerable you are to having your house getting robbed. I was lucky and was raised in Dana Point, CA, which has a very low crime rate, but you should still always take the necessary precautions no matter where you live. Your house can be kept safe if you follow some tips on how to make it seem like you aren’t out of town. Here are some ways to keep your house safe while on vacation.
Ask a neighbor or friend for help
Every time I go out of town, I ask my neighbor to stop in or check my house to make sure everything looks ok. I usually tell two or three of my neighbors and they definitely keep a close lookout. I usually bribe them with some cake or cookies, but they’re usually nice enough to do it out of the kindness of their heart. Give them your key and have them come in and ask them to pick up your mail DAILY. If you don’t have someone to pick up your mail daily, make sure to call the USPS to stop your mail for however long you are gone. Having a mailbox full of mail is a clear indication that you are out of town. Just go to the United States Postal Service Web site and you can place a “stop” order in a matter of minutes.
Do NOT post on social media that you are going out of town
A couple months ago, I was watching the news and saw that a family was robbed simply because of their status on Facebook. They were going to Las Vegas for a weekend kept posting updates about their upcoming trip. Once they arrived they shared photos of their hotel and city and a little while after, the daughter received a text from a supposed friend asking how long she was going to be out of town. While the family was out of town, this “friend” and his other friends allegedly robbed their house and and stole many of their belongings including televisions, artwork, beds, and sofas. This is why you should should not make your Facebook status: “Going to Europe for three weeks with the whole family!” or update any other social media account relaying where you are going and how long you are staying. You are basically asking to be robbed. If you are dying to tell people about your trip, just wait until you come back and stick to telling a couple of your close friends. Fortunately for this
Let the police know
This can be very helpful if you live in a small town. Let the police know how long you will be out of town and it is possible that they will drive by and make sure everything looks good. You can also contact your local neighborhood watch program if there’s one in your area just so they keep a lookout on your house.
Put your lights on a timer so people think you’re home
If you have timers on your lights, then do this. It will put people under the impression that you are home. This will not waste much power or energy, since it will be under a timer. You can also do this with a radio by setting it to turn on and off at a certain time, so it there is music playing and it sounds like you are at home. Make sure to let your neighbor or friend who is watching your house know about this, so they don’t think someone random is inside your house turning on the lights and listening to some jams.
Keep your curtains how you would usually leave them
Keep your curtains open if they are usually open so it doesn’t seem like anything is unusual. Just make sure you keep jewelry or anything expensive out of plain sight.
Bring in any valuables from outside
Make sure to bring in anything you have outside that could be stolen like bikes, cars, etc. Leaving valuables outside could also attract unwanted attention and if anyone notices that it has been left outside for awhile, it will become evident that you are not home.
Pull out all the plugs
Make sure to unplug your television, computer, coffee maker, and other appliances to protect them from power surges and to save power and energy. According to the Consumer Energy Center, many appliances use power even when they’re turned off.
Remove your spare key from it’s hiding spot
Robbers are experienced in robbing people, so they will most likely be able to find where you are hiding your spare key. Make sure to remove your spare key from under your plant, door mat, rock, or wherever you hide it, and give it to a close friend or just leave it in a safe place until you get back from your trip.
Let me know if you have any other helpful tips in the comments section below!