As you make plans to get away this summer, consider your home’s safety.  Here are five steps to add to your “to-do” list to secure your home before you leave town.

1. Hold Your Mail & Newspaper

A pile of unopened mail and unread newspapers announces to a would-be burglar that your home is empty and ready for intruders. Before you go out of town, go online at USPS.com to hold your mail.  Do the same for your newspaper service to stop delivery until you return.

2. Make it Look Like Someone is Home

  • Put a timer on lights and electronics. You can time your lights, television, and other electronics to turn on and off throughout the day.  Avoid leaving your lights on the entire time you are gone. This will not only increase your electric bill, but it’s also suspicious, since most people don’t leave lights on all the time when they’re home.
  • Hire a landscaper. If you’re going to be out of town for a week or more, hire someone to mow your lawn, so it looks like someone’s around and doing the yard work.

3. Ask Neighbors to Keep an Eye Out

Friendly neighbors can be an important line of defense against intruders. Tell your neighbors how long you’ll be gone and ask them to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity at your house.

4. Avoid Social Media

While it may be tempting to share photos on Facebook or tweet about your airport adventures, consider holding off on vacation-related posts. Those you are connected to online are typically your friends, but you never know when your information will get into the wrong hands. Double-check your safety and security settings on social media, and consider waiting to post about your adventures until you get back.

5. Remove the Outside Spare Key

If your home is being targeted, the first thing a criminal will look for is a spare key.  If you’re going on vacation, think about removing the spare key all together until you are home, or leave a key with a neighbor.

If you take precautions before going on vacation, then you can relax instead of worrying about the state of your home while you’re gone.