Secure Your Home for the Holidays

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Kevin McAllister went to some extreme, albeit hilarious, measures to keep the burglars out of his home, but whether you are gone for a weekend or two weeks it only takes 10 minutes of one evening for a thief to run through your belongings.


Remember these guidelines when you leave your home alone.

  • Always leave a light on and consider motion-detecting outdoor lights.
    Use an energy-saving bulb.
  • Suspend newspaper deliveries (two papers left out is enough of an indicator that no-one is home).
  • Ask a neighbor to check your mail (a thief can do the same and if it builds up you know what he’s thinking)
  • Secure all doors and windows and draw all shades. Check all door and window hardware as weak hinges and locks can be defeated. Broom handles in sliding glass doors and windows and nails inserted at the top of double-hung windows are a deterrent
  • Lock the interior door to the garage (garage doors are notorious weak links and if they are compromised at least your home is still locked).
  • Keep your front and back yards clear of leaves and clutter (neglect indicates absence).
  • Share with neighbors you trust that you are leaving town and to keep an eye on your place.
  • Do not announce on an answering machine, voicemail, or personal email auto-response that you are on vacation. Inform people on a need-to-know basis.
  • Approach your home as a thief would and think of ways they may break-in or what valuables they may see out in the open and take the necessary steps to remedy the situation.

Please share other tips in the comments for leaving your home alone.
Happy Holidays

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Timothy Dahl

Timothy Dahl

Founder/EIC at Charles & Hudson
Timothy’s background includes stints at This Old House, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home and Woman’s Day. His work has been published on Wired Design, Bob Vila, DIY Network, The Family Handyman and Popular Mechanics and he has been featured on the Martha Stewart radio show and as a speaker at the ALT Design Summit, K/BIS and the National Hardware Show.
  • Craig Duffy

    I always heard that dogs are the best deterrent to burgalors or you could get one of those doorbells that make the barking sound.

  • home healer

    We had a breakin through our skylight once and figured anytime we leave again we should place spikes underneath it. I don’t want to put bars on it but it but I’m worried about it happening again.