“Occupy” Your Home While on Vacation

by Carmen Corbin on January 30, 2012

When the cold wind of winter becomes just too much to bear, a winter vacation to a warmer place is often on the horizon.  But before you head south to the beach, take a few important steps to improve your home’s security in your absence.

While you won’t have resort to the extreme measures that young Kevin rigged up in the movie Home Alone, he did have the right idea by making the house appear occupied.  Here are few tips to get you on the right track:

Prevention and Deterrents

  1. Activate Motion Detector Lights:  Turn on any motion detectors before you depart on your trip.  If you don’t have any, visit your local home improvement store (they’re inexpensive) and then install them in dark places and near entries.  Sometimes an unexpected light going on is all it takes to deter a potential thief.
  2. Put Interior Lights on a Timer:  Lights on inside a house make it look like someone is home.  Timers can also be easily found at home improvement stores.
  3. Close First Floor/Basement Blinds and Curtains:  This tip is debatable by some, but to quote another movie – “We covet what we see” (Silence of the Lambs).  We suggest making it more difficult by keeping valuables out of view. 
  4. Set Your Alarm System:  If you have one, remember to set it, and make sure they have your cell number too.
  5. Keep It on the Downlow:  As tempting as it is to announce to all your Facebook friends that you’re leaving for a well deserved vacation, DON’T!  This includes frequent posts about what a wonderful time you’re having.  Unscrupulous lurkers hack into Facebook accounts all the time (and can then find out where you live), just looking for a target who is broadcasting to the world that they’re not home.  Once you get back home, post a novel about all your great adventures.

Help or a Housesitter

  1. Snow Removal/Lawn Mowing:  Nothing says “we’re gone” like six inches of snow in the driveway with no tire tracks, or a lawn that looks like a Minnesota prairie.  Even if you normally do your own snow blowing, arrange a short-term contract with a snow plowing company (or your teenage nephew for lawn mowing).
  2. Recruit Help or a Housesitter:  Have a family member or trusted neighbor periodically check on your house (inside too), pick up mail/newspapers/packages, water plants, etc.  The USPS website even allows you to request a mail hold online.  Know a bored friend or a college student who could use a little extra money (and won’t have a frat party on the premises)?  Hire them as a housesitter for the week.

 For more information on snow removal or lawn mowing rates and options, contact your local snow plowing services or landscaping company.

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