February is the time of year that many people make like the birds and fly south for the winter, if only for a week or two. You may remember the article on Snow Bird Security that discussed how to protect your home from the harsh winter weather we experience here in Southwestern Ontario. But how do you protect your home from intruders during your tropical vacation? In addition to an alarm system we have compiled a few tips to make your home less of a target while you are off to warmer climates.
1. Keep your laneway and sidewalks shoveled. This is a common mistake many people make. It may seem pointless to keep your driveway clear when you aren’t even home to use it, but a driveway full of snow if a clear indication that you are away from home. Maybe this would be the perfect time to give a neighborhood kid some extra responsibility.
2. Call ahead to stop any daily or weekly newspaper subscriptions while you are gone or ask someone to pick up your papers. If newspapers are left outside this is an easy way for a burglar to see exactly how long you have been gone and estimate your return date.
3. Leave your curtains open. If you typically have your curtains open during the day, don’t change that routine. Be sure to move valuables away from easy view of the window. Open curtains also help neighbors and police to see in the house and watch for intruders.
4. Consider purchasing a light timer. Leaving a light on for an entire week is not only suspicious but with today’s hydro prices it’s impractical. Consider putting a lamp on a self-timer so that it turns on for a little each day to give impression that someone is in the house.
5. Remove the spare key. If you want to give someone access to your home while you are away give them their own key. Don’t leave a key outside in what you think would be a good hiding spot. Intruders have seen it all, and will check all common hiding spots including rocks, animals, mailboxes etc.
6. Don’t announce your trip to the world. Everyone is excited when they get to go on vacation and they want to share it with their 500 closest friends. But depending on your profile settings, intruders could be scanning these sites. So try to avoid this temptation, wait till your return to talk about your trip, you’ll have way more stories and pictures by then anyways!
7. If your garbage and recycling need to go out while you are away, make sure they come back in. You may ask a friend to put out your garbage and recycling so you don’t come home to a smelly mess, but make sure you also ask them to bring them back inside once they have been picked up. Garbage cans sitting outside for extended periods of time are a clue that someone is away.
8. Let us know! If you are heading away for a week or more inform your security company! We would be happy to change some names on your call list in case of an alarm so that the people who get a call are actually in the country during the time of the alarm.
Now you can relax knowing that you have taken precautions to protect your home from the elements and intruders!
Enjoy a Pina Colada for me!