Home Security: How to Defend Your Home When You Are Away
by Joe Timbers
Is your home going to be empty for several days while you go on vacation? That's when your home or apartment is most vulnerable to break-ins.
Here are several specific things you can do to ensure your home stays safe even when you are away.
* The best defense for your home is to have a house sitter. There's no getting around it. A house where someone is staying is almost always safer than a house that's empty. See if you can get a trusted friend or relative to stay at home while you are away.
* Stop your mail delivery and newspaper delivery for the entire time you are away. An overflowing mailbox or piles of newspaper advertises that no one's home. Alternatively, get a neighbor to collect them regularly.
* Similarly, if you keep a garden or have potted plants that are visible, get someone to come in regularly and maintain them. Wilted and dying plants are another signal that the house is uninhabited. At the very least, move the potted plants out of sight.
* Put lights as well as TV / radio on timers. Put lights on timers in multiple rooms. Try to create a natural-looking sequence for the lights. Set the timer to turn on the living room lights at sunset. Later on, at your regular bedtime, set it to switch off the living room lights and turn on the bedroom lights at around the same time.
If you regularly turn on the TV at 8:00 pm and it remains switched on till 11:00 pm, set the timer accordingly. Quite often, even if the lights are on, the absence of the bluish glow from the TV can give away the fact that no one's really home.
* Ask a neighbor to drop into your house regularly, if you don't have a house sitter. Windows being opened and closed, curtains being worked and so on are signs that someone is home.
* If you live in a rented home or apartment, you may want to notify your landlord that you will be away. In fact, some lease agreements stipulate that you must inform them if you are going away. Some landlords like to keep an eye on an empty house, even if they don't enter it.
* If you have an alarm system installed, make sure the house sitter knows how to operate it.
* Leave your contact details with the house sitter and/or neighbor. Whoever is checking on the house should know who they should call if there is a problem.
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