How to Secure Your Home While You're on Vacation

Most break-ins are preventable with simple burglar-proofing techniques. Make sure they're in place before you head for your holiday.

You will need

  • Burglar's mindset
  • Exterior lights
  • Newspaper and mail suspension
  • Light
  • TV
  • and radio timers
  • Discretion
  • Home safe or safety deposit box

Step 1 Think like a burglar Think like a burglar: Walk around the outside of your home, looking for ways you could break in. A burglar’s main criterion when choosing a home is that they can get in quickly without being seen. See if any expensive items are visible through a window. Secure your home by plugging up any security holes you find.

Step 2 Shine a light on crime Install lights near entry points and put them on a timer, or consider installing motion-sensitive ones. A burglar won’t feel secure in a spotlight.

Step 3 Don't announce your absence Don’t announce your absence. Suspend newspaper and mail delivery; don’t talk about your vacation on social-networking sites; put lights, TVs, and radios on variable timers; arrange for someone to shovel if it snows or mow the lawn if you’ll be on vacation more than two weeks; ask a neighbor to put a garbage can at your curb on trash days.

Step 4 Burglar-proof your garage If you have an automatic garage door opener, lock your garage manually from the inside and disengage the electronic device before you go on vacation; it will prevent burglars from using a decoder to open the door.

Step 5 Lock your shed If you have a garden shed, lock it up. Burglars like to borrow ladders and tools to break into houses.

Step 6 Padlock valuables Lock up valuables in a home safe that can be bolted to the floor, or in a safe deposit box. Include any documents that could lead to identity theft. Now go enjoy your vacation, secure in the knowledge that you’ve done everything possible to prevent a break-in.

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