Take these precautions before you head out of town.
By Niccole Schreck | Contributor Dec. 10, 2014, at 9:50 a.m.
For many, the best part of the holiday season is spending quality time with family – and when you live in another city or state, that means packing up and heading out. Before you leave, it’s important take the proper precautions to keep your house or apartment safe while you’re gone.
If you’re traveling this holiday season, ensure your home is secure with these seven tips:
1. Lock up. This may seem like an obvious rule of safety, but sometimes the most obvious rules are the ones we forget to follow. Make sure every door and window in your home is properly shut and locked. If you don’t already have a deadbolt on your doors, you may want to consider investing in one, as it can make your door more secure and offer you peace of mind (which is priceless).
2. Avoid posting your whereabouts on social media. Some people post everything on Facebook – even if it’s just a photo of lunch. It’s only natural that you would want to post a status on Facebook or Twitter sharing your excitement about traveling for the holidays. However, you may want to think twice about this. You never know who may be looking at your social media pages, and you don’t want strangers knowing that your house or apartment is vacant for a week.
3. Put lights on a timer. If you have holiday lights, put them on an automatic timer when you go out of town. You can set the timer up so that your lights go on at a certain hour each night, making it appear as if you’re in your home at all times. Consider setting a few indoor lights on timers as well to help your residence look lived in even when you’re not there. With that being said, you should closely examine any strings of holiday lights before putting them on a timer. Frayed cords are a potential fire hazard, so if you notice this on your lights, it’s time to throw them away and invest in some new ones.
4. Don’t leave a key. Having a spare house key is a must. However, it’s crucial to be careful about where you store that key. Don’t leave it in a fake rock or place it under your doormat because these are locations criminals will look. Instead, leave a key with a trusted friend or neighbor so you’ll have it if you need it, but know your key won’t end up in the wrong hands.
5. Ask someone to pick up your mail, or stop your mail. Here’s another benefit about having friendly neighbors: They can pick up your mail and newspapers. Having newspapers piled up on your doorstep might as well be a sign saying, “Hey everyone; I’m not home.” Ask a neighbor to pick up the papers and mail until you return after the holidays. You can also easily temporarily stop mail delivery on the U.S. Postal Service website.
6. Keep valuables out of sight. Go through each room to see if there are any valuable items that are out in the open. Even if these items can’t be seen directly from a window, you should find a safe place for them. If someone does break in to your residence, you don’t want to make it easy for them. Store your valuables in unexpected locations. For example, most burglars aren’t going to pick up toilet bowl cleaner or a container of sea salt. Use common cleaning supplies and pantry items to keep your valuables safe from theft.
7. Leave your curtains in their normal position. It would make sense to close your curtains when you leave, but this may not necessarily be the best option. If you don’t normally close your curtains, this could be a sign telling others that you’re out of town. It’s best to leave your curtains as you normally would, and make sure any valuables that can be seen through the windows are out of sight. You don’t want to give someone a reason to want to come in.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Beth G Homes Team!