June 10th, 2014
We’ve talked about staying safe while playing in the water, while hiking, and while camping as well as how to keep from getting sick at a picnic. But what about your home? How do you keep your home safe when you’re out having fun?
Before you go, video tape all of your possessions and see if you can get serial numbers in the video. That way, if anything gets stolen, you’ll have a record that the police could use to recover the items. And if they can’t, you’ll have a clear record to file a claim against your homeowner’s insurance.
If you have pets, one of the easiest ways is to hire a live-in pet sitter so someone is around the house often. They’ll also be able to water your plants.
Even if you do hire a pet sitter, these tips will be very useful for keeping your stuff safe and secure.
Make certain your neighbors know where you’re going and how to reach you if something happens to your house. You may even want to leave them a key. See if you can hire your local teenager to take your garbage cans down, and bring them up the next day. Also have the teen walk past regularly to ensure that there’s no flyers hanging out on your front door, or packages that you didn’t expect.
Tell the USPS that you’re going and have them hold your mail.
Tell your local police that you’ll be gone and ask for occasional courtesy checks.
If any street lights are out, contact the company in advance of your vacation so that the light is repaired before you go.
Be careful on social media. You don’t know who will be reading it. If you use FourSquare or Yelp to check into a restaurant 150 miles from home, people will know that you’re not there. There are those who troll to find opportunity.
Use timers or technology to turn on and off lights, music, television, whatever it takes to make it seem like the house is occupied. This includes a porch light.
Leave your shades and blinds as you usually do so it doesn’t look different.
Make certain your gardener stops by and mows the lawn as usual.
Turn off the ringer when you’re away. Burglars are savvy at connecting residents’ names with phone numbers. Sometimes they stand outside an apartment and dial the tenant’s number. If no one picks up, the burglar breaks in. But if the phone ringer is off, the burglar thinks he dialed the wrong number.
Add secure locks to your gates. If you have a gardener, give him the keys for when you’re gone if you trust him. Otherwise, only have him maintain the front yard.
If you haven’t added in additional locks to your windows, now is a good time to add in additional bolts. Secure sliding doors to patios and balconies with pull-down bars. For added protection, place a wooden dowel that fits snugly in the bottom track.
Where are you going this summer? It’s ok…just tell us where, not when!