While many San Antonio residents are gearing up for a summer getaway, home security may be a low priority when compared to packing, planning, and organizing the family. But don't let an worrying about an unsecured home break your vacation focus. We've got 10 quick tips on keeping your home safe and secure while you're gone.
1. Ask Someone To Keep An Eye On Your Home
Of course, asking a neighbor to check on things while you're away is a great idea, if you know your neighbors well and speak with them regularly. You can also ask a friend who lives nearby. You don't want to clutter up their Spring Break with too many tasks, but collecting the paper, mail, and watering plants is reasonable and neighborly.
2. Inform the Police Department
You can also call SAPD's non-emergency line (210.207.7273) and let them know you'll be gone for a few days; they’ll often send an extra patrol or two through your neighborhood just to establish a presence. This isn't a replacement for a friend or neighbor checking in on your home, but you'll feel at ease knowing you have an extra layer of security.
3. Install Timers on Lights and Electronics
A dark house at night is a sure sign of absent homeowners. However, you also don't want to leave your front porch light on for days at a time. You can purchase timers that plug into your outlets to turn on your lights and electronics at certain times of day. Lights are an obvious choice, but turning on a TV makes your home look active, even if it's not. Many timers now come with smartphone apps so you can monitor your electronics from a distance.
4. Stop the Mail and Newspaper
For both security and practicality, contact USPS and your newspaper delivery service to halt delivery for up to 30 days. They'll even deliver your accumulating mail to you when you're back at home. UPS and FedEx will also hold your packages if you register ahead of time - and some services require payment. If you don't have someone collecting mail and your newspaper, the accumulating papers and mail will be a big sign that you're not home.
5. Beware of Social Media
This is especially important if your accounts are public and not private, or if there's anyone on your list of friends and followers who you don't know in person. Skip the posts that announce your absence and show off your hotel room view. Save your posts for when you've returned so that you don't alert the internet that your home is empty.
6. Lock Everything
This is a no-brainer, right? But while many of us would never leave without locking the door, this is a great time to make sure that you haven't left any windows or other possible entries. Even second story windows can be a point of entry if someone wants to get into your home. Don't forget to lock your garage door if it's able to open with a handle, and the door from your garage into your home. You can never take too many precautions.
7. Don't Leave Spare Keys Outside
Time to pack up the fake rock that's been hiding your spare key. Most people (even criminals) are aware that spare keys can be hidden in common objects like rocks and garden knick knacks. If you've been hiding one near the door, this is as good a time as any to rethink the habit.
8. Stash Valuables
Put your valuables into a safe or other secure place in your home. This includes family heirlooms, jewelry, cash, and more. If there's something priceless to you and your family, consider putting it in a safety deposit box at the bank until you get back. Just in case the worst should happen, you'll be happy your truly valuable possessions weren't accessible.
9. Install A Monitored Security System
The best way to protect your home is by installing a security system, preferably one that allows you to check it via smartphone from any distance. Some systems will send you notifications if there's suspicious movement or other activity. Visible cameras may even deter
10. Hire A House Sitter
The best way to make your home look lived in is, of course, to have someone stay there while you're gone. If you don't have a friend, neighbor, or someone else you can trust to house sit for you, there are agencies who will provide someone, and will take on the liability.
Remember, you'll feel better and have a more relaxing vacation if you know there isn't anything to worry about at home. Here's to a great spring break!