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The lights are on, but nobody's home: Securing Your Home for Summer Vacations

May 17, 2023

Closing the books on another school year opens up the possibility of summer travel. Whether you choose a beach weekend, a visit to Grandma’s, or a longer road trip, some preventive steps will help ensure that your home stays secure while you’re away.

Make time for home maintenance. Mow your lawn, weed the flowerbeds, and remove trash before you travel. The goal is to make your home look occupied and cared for, not abandoned. 

Leave a key. Give your spare key to a trusted friend or family member. By having them stop by every day or two, you can avoid unexpected deliveries sitting on your porch – an easy grab for thieves, and a sure sign that no one’s home. Your helper can also keep normal routines like watering plants and pulling trash cans to the curb.

Hold your mail. Overflowing mailboxes and flyers peeking out from your door are red flags that you’re away from home. If you don’t have a trusted friend or family member available to stop by regularly, visit and fill out a “Hold Mail” form. Just enter your address and the dates you’re traveling, and the postal service will deliver all of your mail on the day you return. The process takes about one minute online.

Keep a low profile on social media. You may be excited about your trip, but making your plans too public will excite potential burglars too. Don’t advertise your vacation online before you go or let everyone know how far away from home you are. Instead, post those amazing travel photos when you return.

Hide your valuables. Most thieves check the bedrooms first. So tuck your jewelry and other valuables in a small safe in another room, or hide them in an inconspicuous container in another spot, like the pantry.

Light it up. You can order easy-to-install motion-sensor flood lights from Amazon or your local hardware store for less than $20. Indoor light timers attached to your lamps are another inexpensive way to give the impression that someone is home.

Build barriers. Plant prickly or thorny bushes under your windows to discourage would-be burglars. Place a section of PVC pipe, a shower curtain rod, or a broom handle in the tracks of sliding doors and windows. A simple door stopper or string of bells hung on the inside of your door can make a cheap but effective deterrent.

Show off your security. Window stickers with a security system logo, “Beware of Dog” signs and a water dish, or even a pair of large work boots on your porch will all make burglars think twice about bothering with your home.

Of course, monitored home security systems, cameras, and video doorbells can provide even higher protection. But these DIY steps are a strong start to keeping your home safe and secure, preserving those vacation vibes, and giving you peace of mind as you travel.

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