VACATION SECURITY CHECKLIST
According to the FBI, a burglary happens every 20 seconds in the U.S. However, vacation season brings out burglars looking for empty houses. Use this vacation security checklist as a way to ensure that you find your home just the way you left it, once you return.
MAIL: Put a hold on your mail via the post office or submit a change of address if necessary. An overloaded mailbox is a sure sign that nobody’s home. Contact your Post Office 30 days in advance.
CANCEL: Place a hold or cancel newspapers, magazine subscriptions and other deliveries. Or ask a neighbor to remove such items promptly from your property.
DRIVEWAY: Ask a neighbor to park their vehicle in your driveway periodically. You want to maintain the illusion that someone is around.
OUTSIDE: Hire a landscaper to keep your property trimmed and looking lived-in. Set your watering schedule to provide enough water for the current weather. Secure or store your outside valuables like your bar-b-que, bicycles and patio furniture.
LIGHTING: Use motion sensitive light fixtures in front and back. Set your indoor lights and even a radio or TV with a timer to automatically turn on or off at set intervals. Or use smart technology that can remotely control fixtures.
KEYS: Never leave a spare key hidden outside your home. Burglars know exactly where to poke around to find them. Instead give your spare key to a trusted neighbor for emergencies. A friend or family member should also have an extra key to your residence.
SET: Set your thermostat at a reasonable temperature. Set your hot water heater to vacation mode.
UNPLUG: Unplug appliances including your refrigerator, washer/dryer, dishwasher, toaster, coffeemaker, TV’s and computers. You may also want to shut off your gas or water.
VALUABLES: Lock your valuables and sensitive information in a safe or hide them well. Alternatively, you can place them temporarily in a safe deposit box.
LOCK: Be sure all windows and doors are locked, including a doggie door. Lay a broom stick in the track of your sliding glass door and/or something in your window tracks. Arm your security system if you have one. Disengage garage door opener an manually lock garage door.
NOTIFY: Your bank and credit card companies should be notified of where you will be – especially if you intend to use an ATM or your credit/debit cards. (This avoids them ‘flagging’ your account for unusual spending activity). Provide them with more than one contact number, just in case.
LUGGAGE: Write down just your phone number on all your luggage – instead of your address. If your luggage is lost/stolen, then burglars won’t know where you live.
EMERGENCIES: A neighbor and/or trusted friend or family member should be designated as your emergency contact person. They should be given authority to make decisions on your behalf should an emergency arise. Your home security company should also have a way to contact you in case of a burglary, fire or other emergency.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Limit what your share about your vacation on social media websites. Never mention when you’re leaving, where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone.
Travel is good for the soul. So, before you leave for your dream get-a-way, be sure to use this vacation security checklist. Then, you can relax and enjoy.
Here is a good website source for home safety tips