Protect your home while you travel
In less time than it takes boil a cup of water, a burglar can gain entry into your home.
Make it look like somebody is home. Install timers on your interior lights so they will turn on and off periodically. Many timers cost less than $20. More expensive timers enable you to program lights in different rooms to go on at different times. You can even make them go on and off at different times each day you're away. Also consider leaving your radio on and tuned in to an all-news or talk-show station. A prowler may have a tough time determining if the voices are coming from the radio or from residents.
Brighten the outside of your home by installing exterior lights controlled by motion sensors. Few prowlers want to be in the spotlight.
Stop your newspaper delivery. Many newspapers will extend your subscription to make up for the issues you miss. Be sure to give several days notice so your order can be processed in time.
Ask someone to collect any free newspapers or sales materials left in your driveway or porch.
Stop your mail delivery. This must be done in writing, so either send a letter to your postmaster or fill out a card at the post office. Most postmasters need two days to process your request.
Ask a friend or neighbor to periodically park a car in your driveway while you're away, and to keep an eye on your property. Some neighborhoods have special police units that monitor the area. If police monitor your community, tell them when you'll be away so they can watch for suspicious activity. If your neighborhood has a crime watch program, notify the captain of your travel plans.
If your house is equipped with a monitored alarm system, inform the alarm company of your travel schedule. If possible, give them a number where you can be reached in case of an emergency.
Will you be away for more than two weeks? Ask a friend to mow your lawn or hire a lawn service. Many companies accept short-term contracts, but be sure to arrange for service in advance.