The holidays are an exciting time of year, especially if it includes a winter vacation. But leaving your house behind for a week or two might be stressful. Before you go on vacation this year, use this brief guide to make your home more secure from burglars and preventable accidents.
Doors and Windows: Secure all doors and windows; see that they are properly closed and locked. Repair or replace any hardware that is loose, worn or not working. Check security bars and window locks to ensure they cannot be easily pried open.
Spare Keys: Don’t leave spare keys in your house. If you would like someone to have access to your home in case of emergency, leave them with a trusted friend, neighbour, or family member.
Timers: Put lights in different parts of the house on timers. To be most effective, the lights going on and off in the various rooms should mimic your normal schedule.
Mail/Newspapers: Ask the post office to suspend service for the dates you will be away. Cancel newspaper delivery. See if a neighbour or friend will pick up fliers and check for unexpected deliveries, particularly if you will be gone for two or more weeks.
Kitchen: Plan on emptying the garbage cans the night before or the day you’re leaving. Remove perishables from the refrigerator. Unplug kitchen appliances and electronics throughout your home.
Take pictures: If you haven’t done so already for insurance purposes, take pictures of valuable jewelry and high-end items you will have to replace if something happens while you are on vacation. Make sure all important documents and papers are locked away.
Gutters: Clear the gutters of any debris. Check the downspouts – they should be securely fastened and free of clogs.
Garage: Disconnect the receiver of the electronic garage door and lock it manually. This will prevent someone from intentionally or accidently opening the door with another electronic device.
Perimeter of house: Move items away from siding that look inviting enough to steal or can be used to gain access to upper storey windows.
Perimeter of property: Check fences for holes or weak spots that allow entry. Secure gates and empty garbage bins. Use motion sensor lights.
Don’t share your vacation plans on social media. Post pics and videos after you and the family are home safe and sound.
If you have a home security system, notify the company of the dates you will be and when you’ll be returning.
Consider downloading a home security smartphone app.