Heading out for a vacation? Good for you. Make sure your home stays safe and secure while you’re away. There’s a lot that a locksmith can help with on that front, like new and upgraded locks. But there’s a lot that you can do on your own to protect your home. Some of our tips are probably things you already do, but hopefully, there’s something new here for you.

#1 Plan in advance

Don’t leave it to the last minute. Let the post office know when you are leaving and when you plan to return. They’ll hold your mail so that your mailbox doesn’t fill up and make it obvious that no one is around to empty it. When you return, you can pick up your mail at the post office, or just have them make one big delivery. Don’t forget about the newspaper. Pause delivery for the time that you’re away. There’s no better indication to a burglar that no one is home than a week’s worth of newspapers piled up on the front porch.

#2 Fake them out

Your home doesn’t have to look empty just because no one is home. It is pretty easy to make it look like someone is around. Put one or two lights on timers so that they come on at dusk and turn off at some point during the night. You can even set timers so that your lights aren’t coming on in the same order, or at the same time every night. If you’ve got a smart TV, you can even set it to turn on and off with a timer. You can probably even control your TV remotely with an app on your smartphone from wherever you are. That’ll really make it look like someone is home. If you want to be really sneaky, you can use a light that mimics the patterns of a TV. Set that on a timer, and you’re all set.

If you live in a safe neighborhood, leaving a car in the driveway is also a good way to deter potential intruders.  

Of course, a visible home security system that includes surveillance cameras is going to help keep your home secure, whether you’re home or not. If you want to avoid all of the other tricks, you can give the locksmiths at Bill’s lock and key a call. We would be happy to review features and options with you.

#3 Unplug

Yes, we’re aware of the irony of telling you to unplug appliances right after telling you to leave the lights on. Whatever appliances you don’t need to leave on while you are away should be unplugged. So, you’ll have to reset the clock on the coffee maker, but it is worth the inconvenience.

#4 Don’t broadcast your plans

It is so hard to keep our plans to ourselves when we get excited about a trip, that almost everyone ends up sharing details about upcoming vacations via social media. All we can say about that is it is a very bad idea. You may think that your social media accounts are private, that only your good friends can see what you are posting, and that there is no way any unsavory characters could get wind of the news. You would be wrong. Once your information is out there, you’ve got no control over who shares it, who sees it, and how it is used. It is just better to be safe than sorry. If you want to share information about your trip, do it when you get home. It’ll be just as fun to share then. And, who knows, if you aren’t busy posting updates every 15-minutes, you might even end up having more fun on your vacation!

#5 Trust your friends

If you are going to be away for an extended period, you’ll need to think about more than just your newspaper and mail. An overgrown lawn in a neighborhood of finely trimmed greenery can put your home on a burglar’s radar. Pay the kid from down the street to mow for you while you’re away, or have friends come by and prune some plants. If you are away during the snowy season, have someone drive in and out of your driveway for you. Those tracks will make it look like someone has just arrived home.

#6 Put things in a safe place

You probably don’t keep your jewelry and other valuables in a safe or hidden away when you are home. It is worth taking the time to do it when you’re away. It can’t hurt, and if someone does break in while you’re away, you’ll be glad that you took a few moments to take this extra step. If you don’t have a home safe, small items, like jewelry, can be hidden away in unexpected places, like a kitchen pantry. And, don’t forget about your electronics! Don’t leave laptops, video game consoles, and other valuables lying around. Put them away and out of sight.

#7 Get creative

Something as simple as wooden dowels slid into tracks will make it virtually impossible for anyone to open sliding glass doors. Sure, they could break the glass, but that would create quite a ruckus and attract a lot of attention.

We hope at least some of these tips are new to you. Don’t forget, if you need help making your home more secure, our locksmiths can help with new and upgraded locks, and our security professionals are here to help out with safes and electronic systems.