The best time for someone to break into your house is when you’re not at home. Most people who commit home invasions aren’t interested in kidnapping or assaulting someone. They’re just looking to make a quick buck by getting in, taking stuff, and getting out without being caught. That’s why one way to protect your stuff is to put it in less-obvious hiding places like these.
The ideal situation for a criminal is to walk into a home where the residents are on vacation and have time to decide what to take. Here are some ideas to protect your home while on vacation and keep that from happening.
Don’t Broadcast Your Vacations Online
Most of us post what we’re doing and where we’re going on Facebook or Twitter. Usually, that’s probably ok. After all, you trust your friends not to rob you. But if your posts are viewable by the public, then you’re really telling the whole world when your house will be empty.
Even if you don’t have your address listed in your profile, you likely have the city you’re posting or tweeting from attached to your posts. If someone knows your name and city, finding your home address is as easy as looking in the white pages of the local phone book (yes, phone books still exist).
Tell Your (Trusted) Neighbors
Unless you totally don’t trust your neighbors (in which case, maybe – instead of going on vacation – you should be saving money towards moving to a better neighborhood!), it’s a good idea to tell a couple people nearby that you’ll be out of town. That way, when they drive by, they’ll be able to notice if something suspicious is going on.
For instance, if they know you’re out of town, but they see a delivery truck parked in the driveway for a long time, they’ll know something’s going on that shouldn’t be.
Stop Your Mail
A pile of newspapers on a front porch or an overflowing mail box is a dead giveaway that no one’s at home. Fortunately, this is an easy issue to fix. Either ask a neighbor to take care of getting your mail and paper, or contact your paper deliverer to stop delivery until you’re home again. They might even be willing to not charge you for the time you’re gone and extend your subscription longer!
For your mail, contact the United States Postal Service and ask them to put a hold on your mail. You can either call your local post office, or fill out this online form. You can schedule this service up to a month ahead of time, or as late as 2 am on the day you want them to start holding it. When you get back, just go to the post office to pick up all your mail.
Don’t Hide A Key
Lots of people hide a key outside their house somewhere. On the one hand, that’s great in case you lose your key somewhere, or if you have kids coming home from school or something like that. However, there aren’t really that many places to hide a key, so thieves know where to look.
Getting a fake rock, or hiding the key under the doormat is great, but thieves know where to look. It’s a much better idea to give a key to a neighbor for safekeeping. A neighbor who has a key also has the ability to check on your house if something happens, such as flooding in the area, or something like that.
Thieves don’t want to be seen. Simply putting motion-activated lights outside your house can scare away casual thieves.
In addition, putting some inside lamps, or even your television on a cheap timer inside your house can make your home appear occupied. Think of the kid in the Home Alone movies – only much simpler!
With your home more secure, have a great time on your vacation!