Vacations require a certain amount of planning and preparation, but one element that is often

overlooked is home safety.

Just like you create a packing list, homeowners should have a home safety checklist that they follow

before going on vacation. It’s well worth homeowners’ time to prepare for vacation rather than deal

with the consequences of a burglary when they come home.

A burglary occurs every 16.4 seconds in the United States, resulting in approximately $4.5 billion in

property loss, according to the FBI. The average loss per burglary is $2,322 for individual homeowners.

Criminals are always looking for easy targets. They look for signs like piles of mail or newspapers,

garbage cans left at the end of the driveway or an uncut lawn, and will try to take advantage of your

absence.

To help you prepare for vacation and keep your mind at ease, the Arkansas Realtors® Association

created the following checklist to help you prevent a burglary while you’re away:


 Lock doors and windows. There’s nothing worse than wondering if you remembered to lock

the door or close that first floor window. Unlocked doors and windows are a criminal’s main

point of entry. This is also a good time to replace any broken locks and make sure all of your

locks are working properly.


 Make the residence look occupied. Try to make things look as normal as possible while you’re

gone. Keep your blinds in their normal position, leave the air conditioning/heat on while you’re

gone, hire someone to mow your lawn, ask neighbors to park in your driveway, place a hold on

mail/deliveries, etc.


 Use timers. Placing lights, TVs, radios, etc. to turn on and off at normal times is an easy way to

make it seem like someone is home. Nothing says you’re away like a dark house multiple nights

in a row.


 Beware of social media. Be careful of what you post and share online. By sharing your vacation

pictures and travel plans online, you’re advertising that your residence is unattended. If you

have a landline, leave a normal message on your answering machine, and don’t share that

you’re out of town.


 Tell select people that you’ll be away. Ask neighbors to keep an eye on your property, and

leave a phone number where you can be reached in case of emergency. Notify police if you’ll be

gone longer than a week and consider asking a friend or neighbor to check in on things while

you’re away.


 Remove your spare key. If you keep a spare key hidden outside of your residence, either take it

with you or leave it with a neighbor. A criminal will often check for a spare key if they’re trying

to enter your home.

House to House is distributed weekly by the Arkansas REALTORS® Association. For more

information on homeownership in Arkansas, readers may visit www.ArkansasRealtors.com.