Protect Your Home While Away on Vacation

Spring vacation is here, and many of us are planning on going away and enjoying some well-deserved relaxation. However, vacationing away leaves your home vulnerable to break-ins and theft-related crimes. A burglary can shatter your peace-of-mind and destroy your family’s sense of security, so it helps to know what thieves are looking for and how to avoid common mistakes when leaving your home unattended.

Most burglars check for four things: something worth stealing, easy access to the house, low visibility, and a home that is unoccupied. If all of these conditions are met, your home is an easy target. Although not 100% foolproof, these quick Do’s and Don’ts will go a long ways towards protecting your home and your belongings.

Do

  • Fool thieves by making your home look occupied at all times. Use light timers, or timers for the TV or a radio.
  • Change the pattern of the lights you leave on when you’re away. Leaving the same light on always could tip-off thieves and signal you aren’t home.
  • Maintain an everyday appearance by leaving some curtains and blinds open.
  • Turn down the volume on your phone ringer and answering machine so they can’t be heard outside.
  • Keep outside gates locked.
  • Keep the door between the garage and the house locked.
  • Install motion detector lights outside to ensure the perimeter of your house is well lit.
  • Organize or participate in a community watch program.
  • Lock valuables and important documents in a safe or other secure location.
  • Ask one of your neighbours to park their car in your driveway.
  • Cancel newspapers and have a neighbour pick up fliers and other papers from your porch.
  • Trim back bushes and shrubs that might obstruct entries to your home.

Don’t

  • Leave a message on your answering machine saying that you aren’t at home.
  • Let newspapers and mail pile up. Ask someone you trust to collect your newspapers and mail daily while you are away.
  • Leave garbage cans out on the curb.
  • Leave a key hidden outside under a flower pot or window sill. Thieves know where to look!
  • Leave tools or ladders outside which can be used to gain access to your home.
  • Leave valuable items in clear view of the windows.

Also, ask someone you trust to “house sit”, especially if you plan to be away for an extended period of time. If possible, leave an itinerary and contact details with a reliable neighbour, friend, or family member. Ask them to keep an eye on your home and report anything suspicious to police.

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