Whether you’re on vacation or you have a property that is currently vacant, the possibility of intruders, squatters, and thieves taking advantage is a major concern.
The last thing you want to do is to leave your house in a manner that would actually suggest no one is home. What are some things you can do that would make someone going by your house think it was occupied?
Here is a list of simple steps you can take to protect your vacant property:
Stop Your Mail and Deliveries.
Have the post office hold delivery from the day you leave for your trip until you go to the post office for pick up. Make sure you don’t order anything over the Internet that would be delivered in your absence. Don’t leave a note on your front door with delivery instructions. Piled up mail or newspapers is an easy signal to potential intruders that no one is home.
Set Your Lights On Timers
This may not have helped the McCallisters in Home Alone, but setting your lights on timers can be a very effective deterrent. Have a timer turn lights on in the living room just before dusk and turn them off at 10 pm. Set a timer in a bedroom to turn on at 9 pm and turn off at 11 pm. Consider setting a timer on a radio or TV to go on and off from late afternoon to early evening.
Barring an attack from the Sticky Bandits, light timers can do the job.
Mow Your Grass or Shovel Your Driveway
If it’s summer, mow your grass before you leave. Consider having a lawn service come in and mow your lawn in your absence. Ask a neighbor to have their kids play in the yard and perhaps leave a ball or a toy on the driveway by a back door. An unkempt yard invites all the wrong kind of attention.
On the other hand, if it’s winter and you’re expecting snow to fall during your absence, ask a neighbor to pull their car in and out of your driveway in the snow and to walk to and from the back door to make it appear as if someone was home. If possible, consider scheduling a snow shoveling service in case it does snow.
Bring In Your Garbage Cans
Don’t put garbage out for pick and then leave empty cans out in your absence. If you have cans out, ask a neighbor to bring them in for you. As well as an indication that no one is home, your neighbors would probably appreciate you not leaving the cans out for an extended period of time.
Call the Police for Help
If you live in a small enough community you may be able to notify your local police department that you will be away and ask them to drive by your residence and check the house for you. Not every police department will respond to such a request, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Lock Up Toys, Bikes, and Easily Stolen Outdoor Tools
While you can leave a toy or two by a back door, make sure your bicycles and other recreational toys are locked in your garage or are put out of sight.
Rely on Friends and Neighbors
If you want your house to not only look occupied but to look as if someone was actually at home, having a friend of neighbor spend time there is your best bet. If you can have someone go through your yard, check your mail, water your plants, or even just go over to watch some TV, it can make it appear that someone’s home and you’ll lower your chances of someone trying to get into your house or garage.
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