You can have peace of mind while away from home during the holidays by implementing the following home security tips.
- Home vacation checks. Arrange with your local police department to periodically cruise by your house when you're out of town.
- Alert your neighborhood watch group. Inform the group of your vacation plans so they can be extra alert to suspicious activity about your house. If there's no formal watch group, ask a friend or neighbor to check up on your residence. This includes having them remove any packages on your doorstep or accumulated newspapers.
- Police inspection. Schedule a police officer to assess your residence for security ideas.
- Update the burglar alarm. Inform the alarm company you'll be out of town; provide them a phone number where you can be contacted. Give the alarm company the phone number of anyone checking up on your residence. If the alarm is tripped, the company will be speaking to you or your friend, rather than the burglar in the house when he picks up the phone.
- Inspect motion detectors. Make sure that motion detectors cannot be set off by billowing curtains or pets.
- Secure all portals. Make sure all the locks work. Repair any cracks in doors or windows. Set the pin lock on your garage if it opens by remote. Sliding doors should have bars that prevent giggling them open.
- Conceal valuables. Keep valuable items out of sight from peepers outside the house. Don't keep spare keys in places obvious to burglars such as under a flower pot or fake rock. Remove valuable items from sight in your car, if parked in the driveway, and put a lock on the steering wheel.
- Stop mail and newspaper delivery. Arrange with the post office and newspaper service to have your mail and newspaper on vacation hold.
- A lived-in look. Mow your lawn just before you leave for a long trip so that it looks recently cared for. Use automatic light timers for holiday lights if your house is decorated with these to fool burglars that you're home.
- Discard any signs you have expensive items in the house. Examples might be empty computer containers or flat screen TV boxes lying around outside. Store bikes, toys, etc., in the garage.
Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to
on Fox Boston.