First on the list is make a list and check it twice — remember this is the way the professionals determine naughty and nice. There are three living areas to consider:
Secure Inside your residence
• Lock the doors and windows: Locking up might seem too obvious to mention, but an estimated 32% of burglars enter through unlocked doors. Windows are also weak points, so keep them closed and locked, even on the upper floors.
- Lock your inside garage door.
- Relocate any hidden keys. If you have a neighbor house-watching for you, give him a key, instead of leaving one hidden outside or in your garage.
• Leave the Blinds Open (If You Normally Do): If you’re someone who regularly leaves the blinds open in your home during the day, don’t leave them closed during your vacation. It may seem strange and you might feel that you don’t want anyone peeping into your home while you’re not there, you burglars look for changes of habits.
• Use lights and sound to create the illusion someone is home: Darkness is another bull’s-eye of an empty house, and it also allows thieves to sneak in undetected. Leave a few lights on, or better, use motion detector lights or smart lighting so you can set the lights to a timer and control them remotely. Add a radio to the mix to make the house seems occupied.
• Hide or lock up valuables include digital and identity valuables.
• Get your security system ready: If you have a home security system or security cameras, make them obvious to potential intruders. Cameras should be conspicuous so they can see and be seen. Post home security signs and decals prominently. If you don’t have a system, fake signs might be better than nothing. Also, make sure the security system and any automated devices you have are programmed correctly for your absence. If you have a professionally monitored system, inform the company that you’re going away. Make sure cameras, smoke detectors and any other components are on and in good working order, and that your smart home devices are programmed appropriately.
* Adjust the thermostat: Adjust the thermostat to prevent the HVAC system from needlessly heating or cooling empty rooms. Programmable smart thermostats make this a lot easier, and you can remotely adjust them to comfortable temperatures for when you get back.
• Prevent water damage: Some experts recommend turning off the house’s main water supply valve to prevent possible water damage from leaky pipes. This is a viable option if you live in a moderate climate and the house will be empty, but if you live in a cold area, or someone will be checking in while you’re gone, you probably want to leave the water on.
* Ready your pets:
• Prep your plants: Ask a friend or neighbor to water your plants, and be sure to leave multiple lists of all plants and their locations. Better yet, invest in self-watering plant stakes.
• Other misc ideas:
Outside your home
• Willow Park Police Vacation Watch. Willow Park residents may request regular checks of their homes for defined and reasonable periods of time while they are away. Vacation checks entail a visual check of structures and property, ensuring that vehicles, gates, lighting and the general security of the home is intact and in accordance with the request.There is no cost associated with requesting a vacation check, the resident need only complete an online basic form, call 817-441-8938, or drop it by the Police Department.
• Keep the mailbox empty: Mail piling up is a tip-off that no one’s home. Have a trusted neighbor, friend or house-sitter collect your mail and keep it safely out of sight. Alternatively, you can request a temporary mail hold or mail forwarding through USPS.com. If you subscribe to any newspapers or subscription boxes, pause your delivery, or have your neighbor collect your paper off the front porch every day.
• Keep the yard maintained: Unless you have an extremely low-care yard, the lawn or garden will definitely need attention if you’re gone long enough. Keep your regular lawn maintenance schedule, either by lawn care professional or a helpful neighbor. Make sure your irrigation system is in good working order; consider leaving your emergency contact information with a nearby neighbor in case of an irrigation system emergency.
(If you are traveling during the winter remember to consider snow removal as well.)
• Leave a car in the driveway: Former burglars have reported a vehicle in the driveway is a major deterrent in scoping out potential targets, because it almost always means that someone is home. Leave your (locked) car where people can see it, or see if a neighbor wants to park there.
• Ask for help: Ask your local Neighborhood Watch or local police department or just a trusted neighbor to keep a keen eye out for your house; and remember to tell your neighbors if you are ask someone they may not know to enter the house. You don’t want a helpful (or nosey) neighbor calling the police on your house-sitter. If you have a pet sitter or plant sitter, ask him to make a tour around the house, inside and outside, each day to look for anything out of the ordinary.
Secure your Digital Worl
• Don’t broadcast your plans online: That’s DON’T BROADCAST YOUR PLANS ONLINE. Make SURE neither you nor anyone else in your family — including children and grandparents — post ANYTHING about your vacation on social media until AFTER you return. By sharing travel plans, you’re advertising that your house will be empty. You can never be completely sure who sees that information, especially if you have many followers or a public profile. Internet safety is extremely important. Many burglars learn about their potential victims through social media when they post that they will be away, how long they’ll be away, and where they’re going. So skip the photo-posting, checking in, and status updates like “Off to the airport!” Call or text, but DON'T POST!
• Reset your car GPS: Many a GPS, either the portable or built-in style, has led thieves directly to unsuspecting homes. When a car is left at the airport, a bad guy can break in, turn on the GPS unit and often find out exactly where home is. If you have a portable unit, don’t leave it in the car either at the airport, or in your hotel parking lot at night if you’re road-tripping. If you have a built-in unit, set “home” for something other than your actual exact address. Use a nearby intersection or cafe instead. That way you’ll still get home, but won’t lead anyone else there either. (It’s not a bad idea to do this with your portable unit as well just in case anyone gets their hands on it!)
• Ready your computers and electronics: