Secure Your Chicago Home While You’re Away

The holiday frenzy is set to crescendo in the coming weeks, with many people traveling out of town to celebrate the holidays and New Year with family and friends. It’s important to remember amidst the chaos of making travel plans and packing to take the necessary precautions to ensure your home’s safety while you’re away celebrating.

Here’s a safety checklist for your home while you’re away:

Lock It Up
Sounds simple, right: You go away from home, you lock your doors. Make sure, however, that it’s not just the front and back doors that you remember-lock the garage and basement doors too (if applicable) as well as all windows, even those located on the upper floors of your home. Also insert a piece of wood or a steel rod in the sliding entryway of your windows and/or sliding glass door.

Light It Up
Appearance is key to the safety of your home. Even though you’re not there, there’s no need to let the world in on your vacation plans-simple create the appearance of your home being occupied, to waylay potential thieves. For holiday lights in the interior and on the exterior of your home, install automatic timers that can be programmed to turn on and off at different intervals throughout the day. Motion-detector lights around your garage also are a good deterrent.

It’s Alarming
If you have a security system, the sign should be displayed prominently in your front yard. Even if you haven’t invested in a system, neighbors might have an additional yard and/or window sign that you can display.

Friends and Neighbors
If you plan to be gone for an especially extended period of time, consider hiring a house sitter to give you peace of mind while you’re away. Even if you’re just out of town for a few days, let your neighbors know about your travel plans, so that they can keep an eye on your home in your absence. A mailbox full of mail and a stack of newspapers on the front porch are practically an invitation for theft, but completely stopping service is also a signal to thieves that you are away. So if you plan to be away for more than a few days, ask a family member or friend to stop by, pick up your mail and check the condition of your home.

Leave a Message at the Tone
Don’t announce you’re leaving on your answering machine message, as anyone and everyone who calls would have access to that knowledge. It’s also important to turn down your phone ringers or turn them off, as a ringing phone that goes on continually can signal to people that you are away. Do consider putting your radio or television on a timer, however, to again give the appearance that people are home.

Your home is one of the most valuable assets you have, and there’s never too many precautions to take to keep it secure!