Have you ever laid on a golden beach under a sapphire sky on a holiday of a lifetime, sweating with fear that thieves may be breaking into your property back in Durham, NC? If so, you're not the first. After all, even if you litter your home with security devices -- alarms, lights, locks, sensors, cameras, and so forth -- before setting off, it might still not be entirely burglar-proof. But there are all sorts of simple, cost-free steps you can take to put off speculating thieves even more. Here are a few to consider before your next vacation.
1. Make your home look lived-in
Some people like to tidy up before setting off on holiday, but it's not a good idea to leave your Durham home looking unnaturally formal. If you have toys strewn over the floor, let them stay put. Leave curtains and blinds half pulled across, to correspond loosely with all times of day and night, and start this arrangement a few days ahead, to confuse watching eyes further. A low-energy lamp or two left on will also help, as will a radio murmuring away at low volume.
2. Make your home look modest
If you have valuable ornaments on your window sills, or in view, move them out of sight a week beforehand. To protect your valuables further, hide them away in cupboards or obscurer hiding places. If planning a facelift for your house, a swimming pool for your garden, or any other development signifying affluence, put it on hold until your return. If you have shiny new vehicles parked outside, move them round the corner.
3. Clear away clues
Throw away cut flowers, fresh fruit, and other natural matter that may wilt before your return. Remove window displays of greetings cards, and tell-tail signs of abandon from the garden, such as umbrellas left out to dry, washing on the line, and any items that would normally be put away overnight or in bad weather. A rain-soaked sun-bed could be a useful signal to a burglar.
Arrange for your mail to be held back at the sorting office, to save it piling up uncollected, or give a key to trustworthy neighbors and ask them to collect your post every few days. They may also be happy to pop in and adjust lights and curtains for you, and even mow the lawn and put out and collect your refuse and recycling containers, especially if you offer to reciprocate the favor.
4. Invite friends to stay
Confuse inquisitive eyes by filling your home in Durham, NC with people while you're away. Invite reliable friends to use your garden, and if they're happy to do so, a room or two inside as well, so they can pop in for shelter and refreshments. That should confuse any observers. A close friend or relative might even appreciate the opportunity to house-sit for a change of scene.
5. Don't let on you're off
Don't tell anyone, apart from close friends and family and your helping neighbors, that you're going away. Take care not to talk about your holiday while out and about, either; you never know who may be listening. If using your car for your holiday, load it up a day or two beforehand, round the corner, well out of sight of any onlookers. Then you can set off from your home luggage-free on the day, as if to shop.
Enjoy your holiday!
With these simple precautions in place, in addition to any security gadgets you may have, you'll be able to relax properly next time you find yourself on a golden beach. But when you get home in Durham, NC and pop out for a take-away, do lock the door after you. Why not leave the TV blaring too? Burglars don't need holidays -- five minutes is as good as a fortnight for them.