This is the fourth and final addition to our series on home security tips. In this post we’ll cover best security practices, neighbors as a security network and a bonus checklist. If you haven’t read about how to secure your entryways, windows, landscaping, lighting, security systems and more, I recommend starting with Part 1 in this series and following the links from there.
When you are out of the house leave your blinds or curtains the way you usually have them. If you normally have them open or partly open, closing every window covering in your house is a definite sign that you are not there. Make a point to keep valuables out of view. Don’t leave your laptop or expensive jewelry out where it can be seen through a window. Also, if you can avoid it, don’t install your fancy flat screen TV in view of the front room window.
When you are out of the house leave your blinds or curtains the way you usually have them.
When you buy something expensive like a flat screen TV don’t put the packaging out on the curb for the garbage truck to pick up until the day of. Leaving such things outside where it can be seen from the street, either overnight or even for a couple of days, is basically an invitation for a burglar to invade your home. Wait until trash pick-up day to bring that kind of garbage out of your house.
Get to know your neighbors and develop a neighborhood watch program. If everyone is looking out for each other and is familiar with faces and cars, it will be easier to determine when something is wrong. When you make friends with these people begin to develop a rapport where you help each other and show that you sincerely care about their wellbeing. People are more likely to care about you and your family’s wellbeing in return.
Make a point to identify a neighbor or friend you trust to keep an eye on your house while you are gone on vacation. If you have a guard dog you are going to need someone to feed him while you are away anyways. Having someone come to your home to do things like bring the mail and newspaper in while you are out of town is a good practice to deterring intruders. Of course always be willing to return the favor when they are out of town and you may find that you have an automatic house sitter who knows the drill and doesn’t need to be retrained every time you go on vacation.
Find a trusted friend or neighbor to keep an eye on the house while you are away.
Bonus: Vacation Checklist
Speaking of being gone on vacation, I have mentioned a few practices throughout these home security articles to implement while you are out of town. Here is a checklist for vacation security tips. Little things like the newspapers and mail piling up, the yard looking unkempt, no cars in the driveway, no one going in and out of the house, and no lights going on and off at night are all indicators that no one is home and a signal to burglars that this is their chance to strike.
Ask one of your neighbors to park thier car in your driveway while you are on vacation.
Here is a checklist of home security measures to take before heading out on vacation:
- Inform your neighbors that you will be out of town and for how long, and ask them to keep an eye on the house for you.
- Find someone who is willing to park their car in your driveway to make it look like you are home.
- Ask a trusted friend to pick up the newspaper and bring in the mail to keep it from piling up and to feed Fido, the guard dog.
- Give this trusted friend the spare key and any pass-codes to the security system so they don’t set it off.
- Inform your security system company that you will be gone, and let them know who will be going in and out of your house to feed the dog, or water the plants, so they don’t get arrested in the accidental event that they set off the alarm.
- For really long trips, arrange to have your lawn cared for while you are away, to avoid the appearance of neglect.
- Set various lights throughout the house on timers to turn on and off at different times to keep up the appearance that you are home.
- Always be sure to turn down the heat or turn off the air conditioning and unplug all unneeded appliances while you are away.
- Have the post office hold your mail and save your friend a step, especially if you are going to be gone for a while.
After reading all four parts of our home security tips series, please bear in mind that none of these are a guarantee that no one will be able to enter your home uninvited, and you might want to think twice before adding all of these safety features to your home or it may start to look more like Fort Knox. But by selecting the right combination of home security practices, systems and hardware, you can enjoy greater peace of mind that your home is protected and your family is safe.