Before enjoying some R&R away from home with your family, insure peace of mind by making your home less susceptible to being invaded by burglars. Whether you reside in a metro area like Tampa or a suburban enclave, there are useful measures you can undertake to discourage potential thieves during your absence.

1. Lock up your home.

To state the obvious: even though you might be using a monitored or unmonitored security system, it won’t be very effective if you don’t remember to lock every door and window. Whether your home features traditional deadbolts and locksets or electronic keypads, physically securing your entrances and exits is naturally of paramount importance. Also, be discriminating about who you’ve entrusted with copies of your keys – closest friends and family only. After all, nearly 50% of home invasions involve the use of a key. And don’t even think about keeping a spare key in a secret hiding spot outside your house, because no matter how clever you may think you are, burglars are very likely aware of every probable location.

2. Avoid leaving clues.

It is highly advised to avoid visible clues which will tip off thieves to your absence. Putting your mail on hold (the post office typically allows you to schedule a 3 to 30 day window) will prevent your mailbox from overflowing with unopened envelopes and junk mail. If you receive newspaper deliveries, put those on hold as well. Refrain from ordering anything online prior to your departure. Or, have a friend or relative pick up your deliveries if ordering online is unavoidable. Asking someone you trust to periodically check on your residence while you’re gone is a good idea, since unsolicited materials from door-to-door peddlers might wind up on your doorstep or hanging from your doorknob. These materials could act like neon signs and entice burglars.

3. Keep your landscape maintained.

For those in suburbia, make sure to mow your lawn just before embarking on your trip, and hire a landscaping service if you will be gone for over a week. Believe it or not, a yard that isn't kept up can be an indicator that nobody is home taking care of the property.

4. Make electronics work for you, not against you.

On one hand, using devices like programmable light timers, both interior and exterior, can be very effective in creating the illusion that your house is still occupied. On the other, the various electronics in sleep mode throughout your home can continue to draw electrical power, thus wasting money, or become a fire hazard in the event of a power surge. So, unplug all your non-essential devices before you leave, including the automatic garage door opener, which can sometimes be activated by burglars using a universal remote.

5. Avoid announcing your vacation on social media.

Despite the naturally strong urge to share the happy news of your upcoming vacation on social media platforms, the information just might wind up in the wrong hands, and become an unintended invitation for home invaders. Keep your vacation under wraps and share the pictures when you return instead.

Remember, in addition to following these helpful hints, one of the most powerful theft deterrents remains having strong, quality locks installed on your home. So, if you live in the Tampa, Wesley Chapel, or Brandon area in Florida, be sure to contact Cheap Lock & Key at (813) 545-5462 to see how we can make your home more secure.