If you are heading out of town for the holidays, for a long weekend or for a week, it’s a prudent idea to have a checklist of To-Do’s to ensure your home’s safety. Unfortunately this most wonderful time of year also brings about a rise in theft and burglaries. According to CNN Money burglaries peak during December because would-be thieves know people are on vacation, or are out shopping or visiting all day. Here’s our thorough guide to keeping your home safe and looking “occupied”.
Use these sectioned checklists:
- Put timers on several lights around the house, including your holiday lights and front/back porch lights. Have the timers go on and off at varying times, so an obviously unoccupied, dark home doesn’t suddenly all light up at 4:30pm. Winter hours mean dark mornings–set timers to also turn on 6:00-9:00am.
- Double-check indoor/outdoor holiday lights and wiring. Don’t leave any fire hazards.
- Unplug your automatic garage door opener so thieves can’t open it with a universal remote.
- If you’ve got a security system, a video doorbell, or motion detector lights, check to make sure it’s working properly.
- Put your mail on hold–it’s so quick to do online at USPS.com.
- Put any subscriptions on hold–food, fresh produce boxes, Amazon.
- If your social media channels are open to the public, don’t post vacation photos until after you’ve returned home.
- Ask a neighbor for a couple favors (bribe them with cookies!):
- Bring out and put back your rubbish bins.
- Occasionally check for delivered packages and door flyers, and bring them inside or to their home.
- Double-check doors and windows, and make sure they are completely shut and locked. Put in dowels if you can.
- If you want to go to Level 10 on this, make a list of every door and window in your home, and check each one off. Do this every time you go on vacation (because you may not have realized that Aunt Betty cracked open the basement guest room window the last time she visited).
- Keep your curtains or shades slightly closed to keep your valuables out of sight.
- That spare key in your porch planter or under the doormat? Take it inside while you’re gone. (And then consider a safer spare key storage alternative for year-round protection.)
- Consider letting your local police station know that you’re out of town, but only if you’re gone for more than two weeks.
- If you are leaving your car at the airport or train station, or any public parking location, remove your garage door opener, and any documents in the car with your name and address. If you are keeping a car parked in your driveway, just remove the garage door opener.
Actually, this checklist will help protect your home from crime no matter what time of year you take a trip! Check everything off the list. And when you are on the plane, train, or automobile en route to vacationland, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your home is as secure as can be.
Author: Myriam Gabriel-Pollock