Home-Security Tips

Home Security When You're Away

Burglers always look for signs that a house is uninhabited -- and the longer the house is empty, the more vulnerable it becomes. Follow these tips for keeping your house secure while you're away:
  • If your plans to be away from home have been publicized through a funeral, wedding, or similar newspaper notice, hire a house sitter. Burglars often read the newspapers to see who's planning to be away from home all day or for several days.

  • Ask your neighbors to use your garbage cans when you're on vacation so your absence won't be so evident.

  • If you're going to be away from home for several days -- or even for just one day -- adjust your telephone ring to its lowest volume. An unanswered phone is a quick tip that your home is empty.
We've covered home security -- when you're there or when you're away. Now you can rest easier no matter where you are.

Protecting Your Valuables
The most obvious way to protect your valuables is to store them in a safe-deposit box or in a secure home safe that is too heavy to be moved. When buying a wall safe, be sure it's fireproof. If you don't want to invest in a safe, other less-expensive alternatives can limit theft potential:
  • A chiseled-out space in the top of a door makes a great "safe" for small valuables.

  • Devise a hiding place in an acoustical ceiling. Remove a tile and restore it afterward with magnetic fasteners or a similar device. Be careful not to leave finger marks.

    Devise a hiding place for valuables in an acoustical ceiling.

    Devise a hiding place for valuables in an acoustical ceiling.

  • Hollow out the leg of a table or chair for hiding small objects. Drill from the bottom, then cap all the legs with rubber tips.

  • Avoid obvious places such as mattresses, drawers, inside figurines, behind pictures, and under carpets.

  • Many police departments offer a program that includes home inspection, advice on protective measures, and use of an engraving tool to mark a code number that will identify your valuables in case of theft. Call your police department to find out if they offer such a service.