Whether you’re at home or on vacation, the last thing you want to think about are unscrupulous characters who would want to break in and steal your valuable possessions.

Of course, the most important consideration for not letting thieves and burglars invade your home is the well-being and safety of your loved ones. Don’t be a victim. Here are 7 tips for protecting your home from theft while you’re away.


1. Lock your doors and windows

This is the easiest and most obvious thing to do. Loose or damaged doors and windows make for an easy target. Make sure they close and lock properly.

For doors, always ensure that the hinges and knob or handle are fully functional with tight-fitting screws. The jamb should not be split or cracked near the strike plate and the door should fit squarely in the jamb.

For windows, replace any missing glazing or broken glass. Make sure all latches work properly. And if your windows are positioned on a secluded side of your home, trim tall shrubs near it.

2. Install strong locks

There are more persistent burglars who won’t stop until things go the way they want it to be, that is, to steal from you. But you can make it harder for them to shimmy your door or window locks if you replace factory models with deadbolts.

Plus, there are window and door frame security reinforcers that you can utilize to make it more difficult for thieves to get inside your home even if they kick it down hard.

3. Keep the lights on

Another simple yet logical way to deter housebreakers is to keep the lights on- both in and out of the house. Because nobody in their right mind – not even from the perpetrator’s point of view – would want to commit a crime in a bright and well-lit area.

Illuminate your house, especially when you’re going away, so intruders would feel a little bit exposed and vulnerable, making them less convinced that they can mess with folks like you. A bright and well-lit home is welcoming for family and friends, but not so much for petty criminals.

4. Get a guard dog

guard-dogFor sensible homeowners, the most practical reason to invest in canine creatures is if they could and would protect you and your home from unwanted people.

Most home invaders are cowards which make dogs great deterrents for them. If thieves will realize that a man’s best friend is standing guard of your property, they would think twice before earning the ire of Fido.

A “Beware of Dog” sticker will also work as a good hint for anyone who would attempt to sneak in and out of your house while you're on vacation.

5. Take precautions during vacation

This is where being a nice neighbor can pay off well. If you can ask them to collect your newspaper or mail and receive deliveries on your behalf while you're on vacation, it won’t give robbers so much of an idea that nobody’s staying at home for quite a while. Better yet, let them park in your driveway – like what you usually do – while you’re away.

6. Hide the spare key

Spare keys are a lifesaver but if it conveniently falls into the hands of bad people, you’re in big trouble. Don’t hide your spare key in the usual places such as doormats, flower pots, fake rocks, etc.- burglars usually go here to look for it.

Be creative when hiding spare keys and look for alternative hiding locations on a regular basis. And make sure you change your locks immediately if your spare key just disappeared out of nowhere.

7. Install a home security system

One of the best investment decisions you can make is getting a home security system. Find one that fits your needs and your budget, but even if it doesn’t – your family is still worth it. Nothing makes a vacation more relaxed than a decent home security system.

If you'd like to know more, we found this excellent USA Today article that talks about many of the things listed here.