By Maile Timon
Most families take advantage of the summer months and plan trips or getaways. While you may prepare for safety threats and travel scams at your destination, don’t forget about safety concerns in your home. In your race to pack and get out of town, it’s easy to forget to secure your house while you’re away. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice, there are seasonal patterns in household burglary and larceny, with higher rates in the summer and lower rates during other seasons of the year.
Luckily, there are some easy things you can do to protect your house. Here are seven simple steps to secure your home while you’re away.
This may seem like a no brainer, but when you’re in a rush, it’s easy to forget to lock the doors. Simply locking up when you leave can prevent many home intrusion problems, almost 30 percent of burglars walk right through an unlocked door. Do a walk through before you leave and make sure every window and door is locked. If you feel uneasy after you leave, ask a neighbor to double check for you.
Smart locks are another option to keep your house secure while you’re away. There are several different options from keypad locks, auto-locking door handles and smartphone-enabled locks that allow remote locking and unlocking.
Use Timers for Lights and Electronics
Whether you’re gone for the weekend or you’ll be out of town for weeks at a time, you want to keep up appearances at home. Anything you can do to give off the illusion that someone is home will help you keep your house safe.
Install timers for your lights and other electronics and set your lights to go on at random intervals. A potential burglar won’t be able to tell if someone is home or not. Timers are an easy, inexpensive way to automate your home.
Power Down Electronics
Why not give your home appliances a vacation while you’re away? Not only can powering down help you save energy (and money on your utility bills), it can also keep your home safe in the event of an electrical surge.
While you will probably want to keep some appliances, like your refrigerator, plugged in while you’re gone, here are some household items you should consider unplugging while you’re away.
Hide Your Valuables
Burglars look for homes where they can find valuables or easily-pawnable items like jewelry and electronics. If you leave your expensive items on display, you’re inviting a potential intruder to come on in and take his pick.
Store valuables, like jewelry and family heirlooms, in a safety deposit box or safe. If you don’t have a safe or a safety deposit box, you’ll have to get creative. Hide valuables in hollowed-out books, fake wall outlets, in the freezer or try some of these smart ideas.
Install a Wireless Alarm System
Wireless alarm systems are inexpensive and versatile. You can select the parts you need for the size of your home and you don’t need to worry about hefty installation or monthly-maintenance fees. Alarm systems are a great deterrent to prevent home break ins, according to Safeguard the World, homes without security systems are up to 300% more likely to be broken into.
Just make sure to keep alarm signs and decals in plain sight so there’s no question your home is protected.
Ask a Neighbor for Help
One of the best things you can do while your away is ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home. Stacks of newspapers or piles of mail are a common indication that no one is home. Ask your neighbor to collect your mail and newspapers and put your trash barrels out on trash day.
Give you trusted neighbor your contact information while you’re gone. He or she can let you know if anything is amiss at your home or in your neighborhood.
Put Away Hidden Keys
You can leave your spare with your neighbor but make sure to put away any keys you have hidden outside your home. In fact, you may want to consider removing your hiding spots entirely. Most seasoned burglars know where to look for your hidden key, you’re better off leaving it with someone you trust.
Take the necessary steps to keep your home safe so you can focus on your vacation. No matter where you’re headed this summer, have fun and stay safe!
Maile Timon is a professional blogger and content editor. She writes on lifestyle and family, health and fitness, business, education, how to and more. Maile earned her Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism from Chapman University. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking in San Diego, CA. To see more of her articles, follow Maile on Twitter