Going on vacation should be a happy, relaxing experience, but it’s hard to feel at ease when you’re worrying about your home’s security. According to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there’s good reason to be concerned: The bureau’s most recent crime statistics report revealed that in 2012, nearly 2.2 million burglaries occurred in the U.S. resulting in about $4.7 billion in property losses. Home burglaries accounted for about three-quarters of that year’s burglaries, the report noted.
Fortunately, there are relatively simple steps you can take to protect your home and property while you’re away:
Set your lights (and radios) on timers
A house with lights that go on and off—especially in different rooms and at different times—gives the appearance that someone is inside. Timers are easy to use and inexpensive. To make sure timers are working the way you want them to, test them a week or so before you leave so you have time to replace them if they’re not working properly.
If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, ask them to help your home get that “lived-in” look. For instance, a neighbor with more than one car might be willing to use your driveway for one of their cars on occasion. You might also ask a neighbor to remove fliers from your door or porch or take trash cans to and from the curb.
Hold the mail
Have your mail held and stop newspaper subscriptions. Few things say you’re out of town like an overstuffed mailbox or a pile of fading newspaper on your porch or front walk. If your mail is stolen, criminals can use your personal information for identity theft and fraud. Learn more about how you can protect your identity through sites like Lifelock.
Don’t announce vacation plans on your blog or social accounts
Sure, it’s fun to brag about that cool trip you’re planning on taking, and it may be tempting to ask your blog readers or social account followers to give you some tips for travelling or to share their own experiences. But a survey of ex-burglars conducted by CreditSesame found that 78% of burglars use social media to identify their victims.
Install motion-detector lights and a security system
Today’s motion detector lights are much less obtrusive than the lights of a few years ago. Many lights are designed to fit right into your landscape and even to enhance your home’s style.
A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Nationwide Insurance Company found that a surprising 30 percent of homeowners don’t bother to use any type of extra security to protect their homes, and of those who do have security systems in place, 12 percent don’t use them. Even more startling: According to a CreditSesame report, about 78 percent of thieves said they would be deterred by even a simple alarm system. If you don’t have a system or if your system is several years old, it’s time to talk to a security professional to make sure your home is adequately protected.
These are just a couple ways of keeping your home safe while you cruise.