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A house that’s left empty for days and weeks at a time is a prime target for burglars and thieves. These people look for signs that there’s no one home, and if they find a small window of opportunity, they take it. You wouldn’t want to come home to a disaster, so before you leave for your Mediterranean cruise or African safari, make sure your house is well-protected by these safeguards.

Ask a Neighbor to Help

Enlisting the help of a neighbor gives you the peace of mind that somebody keeps their eye on your home while you’re away. You can ask your neighbors to drive by your home every other day or so to check the place. If you have pets or plants, you can give them spare keys to feed or water them. They can also bring the mail in a stuffed mailbox is a sign that your home has been empty for weeks, making it a target for criminals.

Give your neighbor your contact details so they can get in touch should anything happen.

Secure Spare Keys and Check Batteries

If you’re the type of person who leaves spare keys under the doormat, abandon this habit when you’re leaving for a long vacation. Burglars instinctively know where to look, including the doormat, mailbox, flower pot, or door frame. If you really have no choice but to leave them outside, invest in a portable lock box. Check the locks on non-main entryways, like the garage. Burglars target the weak spots of the house; there are countless stories of homeowners who overlooked the garage door, so even if they fortified the front door, they came home to thrashed car wraps and stolen garage items.

On top of locking everything, check the batteries on all home security devices, including motion detectors, cameras, and smoke detectors. This ensures that they will work perfectly while you’re gone.

family vacation

Don’t Post Details on the Web

It’s tempting to tell everyone on the web that you’re leaving for a well-deserved vacation for this date to this date. Keep in mind, however, that public posts can be viewed by anyone. This is the equivalent of telling a crowd that you’re leaving your house unattended—you are inviting criminals.

So, be careful about what you post online. If possible, post photos when you have returned home. If you really want to share this exciting adventure as it happens, make sure only friends and family can see your posts. Strengthen your privacy and security settings.

Take Care of the Lighting

Install outdoor security lights because these do a great job of deterring burglars. Reports show that criminals are more likely to go to areas that are dimly lit and hidden from neighbors’ view. If you have these blind spots, illuminate them with security lights. Most models are programmed to light up at a certain time of day, for instance, when it’s getting dark. As such, it gives off the illusion that there are people at home.

As an additional layer of security, keep valuables away from the windows. These can attract burglars. Keep them in a safe in the inner parts of the house.

Burglars have mastered the look of a home that has been left unattended for a while, so it pays to simulate a human presence and fortify the entire house. This way, you’ll rest easy knowing that your home is safe and enjoy your vacation to the fullest.

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