How Can I Keep My Home Safe While I’m Away?

Whether you’re at the office, on an overnight business trip, or an extended tropical vacation, you want the peace of mind knowing that everything is safe back at home. You may even have a summer home you want to make sure is safe when you’re not there. No matter the situation, there are precautions you can take to keep your home safe while you’re away.

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Put Everything on Lock-Down

Lock all the doors and windows before you leave, including doors to the yard or attached garage. Make sure your windows to the garage are covered so people can’t peek in and see that your car is gone or discover what treasures you have stored in there. If you’re going away for an extended period of time and have an automatic garage door opener, disable it. Doing so will help keep thieves with a universal opener from getting in.

If you have a security system, make sure it is set every time you leave the house. Inform your alarm company about the days you will be gone during long stretches of time. If you don’t have a security system, it might be time to consider getting one.

A home security system can do more than alert you to attempted intrusions — it can also allow you to remotely check in on the house while you’re away and, with smart locks, you could even let a neighbor in to water plants or check on pets.

You also need to lock down social media during your trips. Vacation pics are just the confirmation the bad guys need to confirm that your home is empty and ripe for picking. Save your photos and share an album or slideshow with everyone once you return.

Leave the Right Impression

Don’t tip burglars off by letting mail or newspapers pile up. Either place a hold on delivery for the duration of your trip or ask a friend or neighbor to pick them up. Make plans for maintenance, like yardwork or snow removal, if you’ll be away for a long time.

Leave your blinds or curtains the way you usually keep them. If they’re normally open, it will be a sign that you’re gone if they’re suddenly shut tight. Set lights, radios, and televisions on timers to give the impression that people are coming and going.

Keep up the illusion that someone is home by inviting neighbors to use your driveway for extra cars or guests during the time you’re away on vacations. Another way to throw potential burglars off is by leaving the air conditioner on. A quiet compressor on a hot day is a sure sign no one’s home.

Ask for Help

Arrange for a friend or neighbor to keep an eye on things when you’re out of town. If you can’t control lights remotely, ask someone you trust to turn different lights on and off to help deter criminals from thinking no one is in the house. Let your neighborhood watch group know you’ll be away and inform local law enforcement. Most police departments will conduct safety checks on the homes of vacationing citizens.

Protecting your home is always important, and there’s no reason to relax about security while you’re away. Employ these smart tactics and enjoy your time away from home with peace of mind.

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Info current as of 04/12/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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Celeste Tholen
Written by
Celeste Tholen
Celeste has dedicated her decade-long career to reporting and reviews that help people make well-informed decisions. She oversees editorial strategy and production for SafeWise, with a goal to help people find the information they need to make their homes and lives safer. Prior to SafeWise, she worked as an editor and reporter for KSL and Deseret News. She continues to report on local news as a volunteer with the community paper. For the last six years, she’s led a Girl Scout troop, teaching girls about safety and preparing for whatever life throws their way.

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