Burglars love unoccupied homes because they know they'll have more time to look for --and steal -- the most valuable possessions. When you go out of town, it is important to make your home look lived-in, and to do what you can to keep an eye on your home while you're away. Though technology makes some home security monitoring activities easier, there are plenty of low-tech ways to look after your house while you're away. Here are 10 DIY home monitoring tips for helping keep your home safe when you travel.
1. Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your place while you're away.
This, of course, means getting to know some of your neighbors long before you leave, but that too is good for general neighborhood security
. If you and your neighbors are on friendly terms, they're more likely to let you know if they see something odd, like a truck parked outside your home while you're at work.
2. Continue having your yard maintained while you're gone.
You don't want an overgrown lawn or unraked leaves to tip anyone off that you're away. Of course, this also means having a yard care person you trust or having a trusted friend take care of it while you're gone.
3. Have mail and newspapers picked up.
Sometimes it is easier to have your neighbor do this. Delivery people make mistakes, and you don't want mail or newspapers accumulating while you're gone. Also, a neighbor can take down those annoying "door hanger" ads that solicitors leave on your front door.
4. Avoid the temptation to post pictures on social networking websites.
If you're on vacation with the family, make sure your kids know not to do this as well. If you just have to send a great picture to someone, email it or send it by text message to the recipient rather than posting it where others can see it and determine that you're away.
5. Set up webcams and software to view them remotely.
While it is unlikely you'll catch anyone in the act of robbing your house this way, you could see signs of an intrusion, like overturned furniture or a mess, and have the police check it out.
6. Before leaving, make or update a photo inventory of valuable possessions.
Upload them to a private photo album or load them onto two DVDs (one for home and a spare to be stored elsewhere). If your home is broken into while you're away, this will make the insurance claim process much easier.
7. Keep an eye on the weather back home.
If you're gone while there are severe storms, a hard freeze or some other weather event, have a trusted neighbor or friend check on your home afterwards. That way, if there is a tree down or a burst pipe, you can deal with it right away rather than waiting until you get back.
8. Ask neighbors you know and trust to take turns parking in your driveway while you're gone.
Activity in and around the house is another great way to help it look occupied, particularly if it occurs at varying times.
9. Don't change the outgoing message on your home voicemail while you're away.
It is not necessary for everyone who calls to know that you're out of town.
10. Make the whole process simpler with a monitored home security system.
This will allow you to have home monitored protection 24/7, and many of today's security systems
come with great smart phone apps that allow you to monitor your home more closely than ever, no matter where you are.