For some who live in dangerous cities, it’s already difficult enough to protect their property while at home, but it’s even harder when you’re away. However, there are a couple of things you can do to prepare your property for an extended absence, but first you have to think like a burglar.

In an earlier article on the subject, an Atlanta-based MSNBC affiliate sent letters to 86 people who went to burglary prison and asked them a variety of questions about their crimes. Their answers might tell you a lot about protecting your home against this crime. It included what they told reporters:

  • Don’t publicize what you own. One burglar admitted to searching for homes that had cars with NRA bumper stickers, indicating there was plenty of guns to steal.
  • Burglars don’t just look at places that are obvious. If they feel safe, they will tear up everything in search of hidden valuables.
  • Between 12:30 and 2:30 the best time to break into a house was because it was rare for both children or adults to be home at that time.
  • Security alarm signs and cameras intimidate not all burglars, and many admit to knowing how to disable alarms. Some suggested that cameras indicate valuables are in the home.
  • Burglars are afraid of large dog breeds, as you might expect.
  • Typically, burglars aren’t killers. They don’t want a serious confrontation with a homeowner, so there’s a deterrent to any sign that someone is home.

5 Ways to prevent a breakdown while at home

Going on a long and much-needed holiday is a time to reset our minds and ease everyday anxieties. But if we come to an invasive theft and damage to our personal property, that can all be for nothing. Based on the tips given by criminals doing the time to burglary, making the following security changes can make a big difference and keeping your home safe from being targeted while you’re away.

1. Have somebody check your house every day

It can be a burglar deterrent to have someone come by and park in your driveway. Most thieves won’t come in wide daylight when they know there’s someone. Don’t ask this person (whether it’s a neighbor or a friend or a family member) to do chores unless you offer some sort of compensation that can turn out to be rude. If they have to drive over, make sure that you provide compensation for their time, especially if you need watered plants or cared for pets. But just see if they look over periodically and make sure the house is still tightly locked and, for example, the front door is wide open.

2.Install Your Lights Timers

A dark house night after night is a telltale signal to burglars that for an extended amount of time you’re away. Set in a few rooms your outdoor lights and a few inside lights to come on before it becomes dark and obvious. This will give the illusion that somebody’s home can be portrayed by random lights inside a home. Choose the random rooms you want to illuminate if you can and change the rooms you want to illuminate. If exactly the same rooms are lit at the same time, this can be a green light for the bad guys. Try to set the indoor lights to go off at a random time, like 9:52 pm instead of exactly 9:30. You don’t want lights turning on exactly at 7 p.m. and turning off every night at 10 p.m.; if someone is watching the neighborhood, especially your house, they’ll notice. Some timer models even match your smartphone to enable you to turn on and off certain outlets at will. (Note that this feature is also offered by many security systems.)

Likewise, if you leave your blinds open, when you leave, don’t close them. A burglar will surely notice that when you normally let a lot of light in, your home has been shuttered for days on end. Some blinds can also be put on timers now, and you can operate them from your smartphone like your lights.

3. Pay someone to shake the pitch

Unkept lawns are often a gift that in several days the homeowner hasn’t been home. That also applies to snow removal. Find a neighboring kid, family member, friend, or landscaping company in the summer to mow your lawn and make sure that you pay for it. Your property’s security is worth it! Do the same in winter when clearing your driveway and snow sidewalks.

4. Make sure you are covered by good insurance

While this won’t actually prevent a burglary, if the worst happens, it will cover you. If you’re sure what insurance is covered by your homeowner, call your agent and ask questions. If you rent and don’t have insurance for renters, consider picking up some to cover your personal belongings. The homeowner’s policy will often only cover damage to the house you’re renting, and if a burglar picks up your television, you might be left to replace it. If you feel like it and can swing the extra cost, boost your coverage before you leave.  We upped ours several years ago when we were gone for six weeks and ended up just leaving that policy in place because it added more peace of mind.

5. Watch out for what’s posted on social media

In this day and age, Internet security is a must. This one often slips people’s minds because it has become commonplace to post that picture of their kid on the beach in Hawaii seconds after it has been taken. But doing so can alert sketchy characters to the fact that your family in Hawaii is sunny themselves, and an open invitation to terrorize your property is there. Consider hanging on your pictures and posting a couple of them once you’ve come home. I promise the kids will still be as sweet as they were a week ago!

Don’t just stop at these security measures, make it even harder for the bad guys to break in by layering your safety. Here are more measures you could add to the strengthening of your home security plan.

It should always be at the forefront of your mind to keep your home safe. Look for vulnerable spots and accessible entry points around your home. Use these suggestions to start making a home security plan and mitigate your chances of burglarization while you’re away.