Outside of stopping the mail and newspaper delivery, what else can you do to keep your home safe while you're away? Experts recommend not advertising you're on vacation on social media as a good first step. Here are 10 other tips:
1. Remove garage door openers from cars. Thieves now know they can easily gain entry into a house with a garage door opener. Even if they only get into the garage, thieves can make away with expensive sporting equipment or tools. Put the openers inside your house.
2. Lock your garage doors. Many garage doors and/or garage door openers have a locking feature. At the very least, unplug your garage door so if thieves do get your openers from the car, the garage doors won't open. Don't forget to lock the interior door into the house, too. These are often left unlocked and are easy entry for burglars.
3. Lock and block pet doors. These doors pose a risk for entry by burglars. Be sure to lock your pet door while you're away, and, if possible, block it from entry with grating or a heavy piece of furniture.
4. Fake security. One way to add a level of security is with video cameras. But they don't have to be real to repel a would-be intruder. Buy and install faux security cameras and add stickers to doors and windows that the premises are under video surveillance.
5. Call for security. If you have an alarm service, be sure to let them know you will be out of town and when you will return. Some neighborhood police will also add extra patrols if you let them know you'll be out of town.
6. Tell neighbors. It's always a good idea to let one or two neighbors know that you will be out of town. This way, they'll be sure to keep an eye on your home.
7. Keep the lawn maintained. One of the giveaways that you're gone is an overgrown lawn. Keep your lawn maintenance going if you'll be gone long enough for the grass to be overgrown. Be sure bushes are trimmed before leaving and that they don't cover windows.
8. Make outdoor lighting motion-sensitive. Adapters are available now that will make standard outdoor lights into motion-sensitive lights that will shine when someone walks close to the house. A surprise light could be enough to make a burglar run away.
9. Monitor trash. Dispose of trash or have neighbors bring in cans if you're away. Avoid putting out trash too early, as this can be a dead giveaway that you're gone.
10. Put timers on indoor lights. Having one or two lights on timers inside the house is always a good idea. Have at least one on upstairs in a bedroom and one on downstairs, where someone could be up late at night.