When you’re traveling for days or weeks at a time, and your home is empty, it’s vulnerable. Potential burglars may notice that your place may seem unoccupied, and they may take advantage of that. However there are ways to fool some of them, so they don’t try to break in.
I lived in NYC for 35 years so I was raised to lock doors. But I know that’s not the case for everyone. So…lock your front door (consider a deadbolt!), back door, and windows on all floors. If you have sliding windows or patio doors where you can put a thick dowel in the sill so the door can’t slide, get a dowel and place it there.
If you have an electronic garage door opener, you can disconnect it so the garage is much more difficult to open. Or if you open it manually, lock it! Don’t forget to lock your car doors, too!
Blinds & Drapes
No one needs to be looking inside your house when you’re not home; make sure all your blinds and drapes are closed.
Install Lights Outside
The last thing a would-be burglar wants is to have lights on him/her. Install lights up high so as a thief is at your front door, goes around back or is in your backyard, they’re lit up. Some people prefer motion sensor lights, others have dusk to dawn lights. Whatever…just have them.
And Speaking Of Lights…Use Inside Lights, Too!
Make sure you have some well-placed lights set up in your home that are hooked up to timers so they go on/off at times you would normally switch them on/off.
Arrange For Lawn Mowing & Snow Removal
Depending on what time of year you’re out of town, make sure that the front of your home is taken care of, too. Hire someone to shovel if it snows, and if you’re usually one who keeps their front lawn well-groomed, make sure someone will mow it if you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time.
And Speaking Of Your Lawn…
Tall bushes in front of your windows are the perfect way for thieves to try to break into your home without being seen. If you have plants in front of windows, make sure they’re trimmed to be no higher than the height of the first-floor windowsill.
Is There Anything Hanging Around That Would Help A Thief Get In?
Is there a ladder in your backyard that could help someone enter through a second-story window? Is there anything lying around that could be used to smash a window? Some have suggested grease on drainpipes (especially if they’re close to second-story windows) to prevent climbing up to the second floor.
Hold Mail & Deliveries
Nothing says, “We’re not home!” like an overflowing mailbox and stuff at your doorway that hasn’t been picked up for days. USPS, UPS, FedEx and Amazon all have processes in place so your stuff won’t go to your house. Click here to see.
I don’t know about you, but even if delivered stuff is held, we still wind up with crap left on our porch. Our HOA’s monthly magazine. The Boy Scouts are doing a food drive and leave a plastic shopping bag on your front door handle. And can you believe we actually got a YELLOW PAGES left at our door a few weeks ago? First time in YEARS. Anyway, we have some neighbors who we trust and once we let them know we’ll be out of town, they check our porch, take whatever’s there and hold it for us until we get home (in the summertime, they’ll water my flowers while we’re gone, too. They’re good people!). We do the same for them when they’re out of town.
Consider a Security System
Years ago, only rich people could afford home security systems but nowadays basic monitoring systems such a Ring start at $200 or so. Of course, prices go up from there, including monthly monitoring subscriptions (but they’re not required). But even something basic will keep some intruders at bay because they don’t want to be videotaped.
Of course, no method is foolproof. There are some would-be thieves who are looking for a fast way in and a fast way out so they can grab something to sell for drug money. There are also professional burglars who have been robbing homes for a whole lot longer than you’ve been trying to protect where you live. Hopefully, you can put in enough deterrents like the ones above to fool the amateurs and make the professional thieves think twice. Good luck!
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary