Your Home Security Checklist
Your Home Security Checklist: 11 Things to Do Before You Leave the House
When you leave your house for school, work or errands, do you have a set routine or do you dash out in a hurry? The latter is true for most people, and as a result you’re left wondering, “Did I lock the door?” “Did I close the garage?” “Did I leave the oven on?”
Even if you’re consistent about double checking your doors and appliances, you can eliminate a lot of worry by creating a home security checklist so you never forget again; a routine you follow each time you leave the house.
When you repeat the same actions every time you leave the house, it becomes a habit, allowing you to keep your home safe no matter where you’re going or how long you’ll be gone. Next time you leave the house, use this checklist. Add items that are specific to you and your home to make it even more effective.
Step 1: Lock all Doors and Windows
This one seems like a no brainer, but when you’re in a rush, it’s easy to forget to lock up. Almost 30 percent of burglars enter a house through an unlocked door. Don’t make your home an easy target. Create a specific “leaving home” routine, that includes checking all the windows and doors. Start upstairs and work your way down, or start on one side of your apartment and finish with the other. Follow this same sequence every time you leave the house. The consistency will give you peace of mind that everything is secure.
Step 2: Close the Blinds
A big, open window is a welcome invitation for burglars to window shop your belongings. If a burglar sees expensive items through your window and that no one is home, he may take his chances and break in.
Close your shades and blinds. Not only will this keep a lurker from knowing exactly what’s inside, a burglar won’t be able to tell if someone is home, which could encourage him or her to find another target.
Step 3: Double Check Your Appliances
To avoid the worry that you left something on accidentally, do a walk through and double check your oven, stove, hair straightener, and/or curling iron. You may also want to unplug electronics like your computer or TV which may be using standby power. By unplugging these appliances or using a power strip with switches, you could save money on your energy bill.
Step 4: Put Your Lights on a Timer
The majority of break ins occur during the day, when people are at school or work. If you set your lights (and other electronics) on a timer, you can fool a burglar into thinking someone is home. Automate your lights and electronics and make sure to check that your timer is on before you leave your house.
Step 5: Close the Garage
Even if you lock the door to your house, a burglar can score a good amount of loot if you leave your garage door open. Create a routine when you leave; maybe close the garage door right after you switch on the radio. If you still have a tendency to forget, there are a variety of garage door remote products which has a beep and flashing light to confirm you closed the garage.
Bonus: 6 More Items for Going Out of Town
Now that you have your daily routine, you need to take a few extra steps to protect your home when you head out of town.
Stop Your Newspaper and Mail Delivery
Piles of newspapers or over flooding mail are a dead giveaway that no one is home. Either ask you mail carrier to temporarily suspend delivery or ask a neighbor to grab your mail and newspapers while you’re away.
Take out the Trash
Trash cans left out for days are just as bad as stacks of newspapers. Put them away before you leave or ask a neighbor to take care of it.
Avoid Posting on Social Media
You may be excited for your trip but be careful what you post on social media. You don’t need to let everyone know that your home will be empty.
Take Pictures and Make Copies of Important Items
This may not keep your home safe but it will make your life a lot easier if you misplace important items while you’re gone. Make a copy of your passport and birth certificate and take pictures of prescription bottles for any medications you may need. Instead of lugging bottles around, you’ll have the necessary information in the event of an allergic reaction or medical emergency.
Call the Credit Card Company
Let your card companies know you’ll be using your cards away from home. Some companies will put a hold on a card after purchases in a different location to prevent theft and fraud.
Let Someone Know Your Travel Plans
Share your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member in case anything happens while you’re away. Keep them posted if your itinerary changes as well, so they always know your up-to-date plan.
This may seem like a long list, but if you make it a routine, it will become second nature. Take the extra steps to protect your house; whether you’re headed out of town or out for the day, it will make things much easier and more comfortable when you return home.
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