“Blinkin! They’ve taken the castle!”

“I thought it felt a bit draughty.”

I couldn’t help a Mel Brooks reference.  So while you’re out galavanting around the world, what’s happening with your castle?   Hopefully this:

I just love this

If you like and trust your neighbours, you can let them know that you’re heading out for a bit or have someone house sit.  That’s a great option if you have pets or a lot of plants.  Just as a side note: make sure the person taking care of your plants isn’t me because I can kill just about anything green.

If you’re out and about in the winter, it may be worthwhile having someone come by to clear your driveway and walkways.  Freshly fallen snow is beautiful but if you’ve got the only house that has kept that freshly fallen look, it is kind of obvious.

If you spend a lot of time away from home, there are a few things you can do to prevent break-ins or to at least make your home a slightly less appealing target.  Start by increasing the natural surveillance.  That’s just a fancy way of saying “make your home more visible”, especially the access points like windows and doors.  Keep shrubs trimmed so they don’t obscure the doors and windows and if you’re a gardener, plant thorny plants like roses under windows.

Make sure all windows and doors are closed and locked.  Any sliding door or window can be secured with a simple dowel laid in the track.  If you’re worried about the glass being broken out, you can get a clear window film that will reinforce the glass.  The glass will still break but the film holds it together like the windshield of a car.

Strong locks are a good start but your lock is only as strong as the frame it’s attached to so if the frame is flimsy, get some hardware to reinforce it. Keeping curtains and blinds drawn means that outsiders can’t see if your home is a jackpot.  It may not keep them from breaking in, but it may reduce the odds.  If you live in an apartment, talk to property management about increasing the security of your door.  A window facing onto a fire escape is an obvious way to access the apartment so look at what options are available to make it more difficult.  Bars are a great idea but may violate the fire code.

If you have a surveillance system, make sure it’s running and set the footage to be saved for longer than you’ll be gone.  A few years ago that would have sounded crazy but now days you can get really good systems for really good prices.  If you’re in an apartment, there’s nothing stopping you from putting some kind of a camera in your own apartment.  I’d have one facing the door and camouflage it.  If you get a set, heck put those things everywhere.  Just make sure that whatever it’s saving to doesn’t get stolen.  That kind of defeats the purpose.

Keep valuables somewhere other than in the bedroom.  It’s a natural tendency to keep your most precious possessions in your inner sanctum which makes it the obvious target.  And if you keep things in a safe, evaluate how well your safe is hidden and secured.  If it’s just a couple of screws, that can be pried up and dealt with later.

Look into suspending services like internet, phone, and cable.  I mean that’s a lot to pay if you’re gone for weeks.

Unplug as many things as you can.  First, because even when their off a lot of electronics still draw on the power but also to prevent anything being damaged if there’s a power surge.

Have mail and any deliveries suspended.  Nothing says “nobody’s home” like a stack of flyers.  On a related note, either don’t put garbage bins out or get someone to bring them in.  If garbage day was Tuesday and it’s now Saturday and your bins are still at the curb, that’s another big clue that no one is home.  And when you do put your garbage out, break boxes down for high-end items like TV’s.  Walk through a neighbourhood on garbage day, especially after Christmas, and you can find out all kinds of things about what people have in their homes.

If you have an alarm system and it’s monitored, make sure the monitoring company has the information for a key holder that they can contact while you’re away and can check out the place if there is an alarm.  If an alarm does come in, it may be nothing or it may be something but I’m sure you’d rather have someone that’s close by that can check it out and arrange for any repairs that may be needed while you’re away.

Empty out the fridge as much as you can before you leave.  No one likes coming home to slimy produce.

It may seem obvious, but make sure bills are set up for payment before you leave.  And while you’re at it, let your credit card company know you’re going to be travelling so they don’t suspend your card thinking that it’s being fraudulently used.

If you have mouse traps down, pick them up.  Forget to do that once and you will never do it again.  Trust me on this one.

So what things do you do before leaving home?  I’m sure I’ve forgotten or never thought of some great tips.

I just had to throw in a few gratuitous travel pics…

2 thoughts on ““Blinkin! They’ve taken the castle!”

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