W hile you are likely very excited about your upcoming plans to travel for the holidays, you need to make sure you take the time to prepare your home as well. Criminals are very aware that people travel for the holidays and they look for homes to target during that period of time. There is a much lower risk of getting caught during this time because so many people are paying attention to their own plans.
Make sure you carefully check all the doors and the windows before you leave for the holidays. They should all be securely locked to prevent someone from slipping into them undetected. If you have an alarm system you want to make sure you set it before you head out. Put fresh batteries is motion lights and outdoor video equipment that you may have installed. Don’t leave extra keys under the mat or other common locations where criminals can easily find them and walk right into your home.
You don’t want your home to appear to be empty when you travel for the holidays. If possible have a friend or neighbor stop by daily. Most criminals stake out homes so if they see different lights on or they see fresh footprints in the snow they will be less likely to target your home.
Either have someone collect your mail and newspapers daily or put them on hold until you return from your holiday travel. Not only is this a dead give away that you are out of town, it can also lead to identity theft. All it takes is for a criminal to get their hands on your bank statement or a credit card statement and they could wipe out your account and charge items that you will have against your credit card.
If you are traveling during the colder part of the year for the holidays, have someone shovel your driveway and sidewalks. This definitely gives the impression that you are home or at least that someone is keeping a very close eye on your home. You also want to set your thermostat at a decent temperature while you are way. The added expense of the heating bill will be nothing compared to the damage from broken pipes that may have froze due to the drop in temperatures while you were traveling for the holidays.
Make sure a friend or a neighbor has a way to contact you in the event of an emergency involving your home while you are away for the holidays. Hopefully they won’t need to contact you but having such measures in place can be very beneficial if an issue does arise. They may be able to take care of low priority issues for you such as the sprinkler system not turning off or someone hitting your mailbox with their vehicle due to sliding on icy roads.
It can be very nice to travel for the holidays, but do all you can in order to ensure your home will be protected while you are away. You don’t want to come home and find that your home has been burglarized or later that your personal information has been compromised. Some planning before you travel for the holidays will help to ensure everything is safe and sound when you return.