Vacant properties are a prime target for criminals. When a house is empty, it’s easier to break into. Many criminals target properties that are vacant during renovation works due to the expensive tools inside.
But residential properties that are vacant when the owners are on vacation are also at risk. Even homes that are empty for a couple of days are targeted by burglars operating in the local area.
In this article, we’ll share 10 essential tips on how to leave a house when going on vacation to protect a property and prevent home intruders.
1. Install home security cameras
Installing home security cameras offers many benefits to homeowners, especially when going on vacation. Firstly, criminals don’t want to be caught on camera, so they may help in deterring burglars from targeting a property to begin with.
They also enable homeowners to keep track of who enters the property from afar. If a break in is captured on camera, the homeowner is alerted via push notification and can call the police.
2. Leave blinds halfway open
Burglars monitor houses to see which properties are vacant. Keeping blinds closed while on vacation can lead criminals to believe a house is not in use.
Similarly, leaving blinds open, particularly in upstairs bedrooms, can make burglars think that no one is around to close them.
A good trick to prepare a house for vacation is to leave blinds halfway open. Many homeowners permanently leave blinds this way, so your property won’t stand out.
To offer extra security, electric blinds can be installed to open and close automatically.
3. Set indoor lights on timers
Setting lights on timers simulates a person’s presence inside the property, which may help with deterring burglars. Should a burglar walk past on several occasions and find the lights change, they won’t suspect the owners are on vacation.
Lights should not be left on in downstairs rooms when the blinds are open, as this will look suspicious. It also makes your valuables visible to thieves, enticing them to break in.
4. Enlist a house watcher
If a friend or family member lives nearby, ask them to drive by the house or visit the property occasionally to make sure everything is OK. Alternatively, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on the house while it’s vacant and to text if something seems suspicious.
Properties are monitored, inspected, and tagged if it’s known to be empty (and have valuables inside that make it desirable).
5. Add a friend to AlfredCircle
When Circle members enter and leave the space, you’ll be notified immediately letting you know, making it useful for keeping an eye on your space from afar.
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6. Lock all windows
This is particularly important for single-glazed windows that can easily be smashed or properties that are isolated in remote areas.
When a window is unlocked, it can be opened from the outside, enabling burglars to gain access to a property. Locked windows make it harder for entry without causing significant noise, damage, and suspicion.
7. Empty mailbox
A full mailbox is another clear sign to burglars that a property is unoccupied. Before going on vacation, make sure to empty the mailbox so there’s nothing inside.
If vacationing for a long period, ask a neighbor to pick up mail to prevent a mailbox from overflowing. Or, temporarily redirect mail to a family member or friend’s home using a redirection service (usually costing a few dollars a month).
8. Set alerts on security systems
Should home security cameras or a security system already be installed, make sure it’s set up properly before you go on vacation. Some systems have “vacation modes” and schedules that can be enabled when the house is vacant.
These features ensure a property is suitably protected for the entire vacation period. They also ensure that homeowners receive all the right alerts for activity happening outside and inside the house.
9. Mow the front lawn and trim shrubbery
Yes, you’re about to go on vacation so it’s the last thing you want to hear, but tending to the yard can help in making a property not look vacant.
10. Remove hidden spare keys
Many people leave spare keys hidden somewhere on their property, which, if done effectively, can be useful. But when leaving the house vacant for a while, all spare keys must be removed before going on vacation.
A burglar may already be aware of the hidden key and be waiting for the opportunity to use it – like when the owners are on vacation.
A lockable key safe (drilled securely into the wall) with a pin code is a safer way to keep a spare key in the garden, but it should still be removed before leaving the house vacant.
House watchers should be given a spare key to keep on them.
Preparation is key to preventing your house from becoming the next burglary target during a vacation.
When scoping out an area to find the next home to break into, burglars will often look for signs a property is empty – like unkempt front yards, closed blinds, and full mailboxes.