Home security is certainly an important part of any trip plan whether you’re preparing for a quick getaway or an extended vacation. To make sure your home security is up to par and you can truly enjoy your trip, run through the following home security tips before you hit the road.

  • Locate and turn off the main water valve, which is usually found on the front, street-facing side of a home’s lower level.
  • Drain toilets and tanks by holding down the flush lever until the water is gone.
  • Turn off the water heater.
  • Turn off all nonessential electrical circuit breakers in your home’s electrical box.
  • Disconnect/ unplug all appliances large and small.
  • Turn off your A/C.
  • Put lights in main living areas on timers and set them to simulate occupancy.
  • Don’t broadcast your absence or your location of vacation with photos and/or status updates on social media like Facebook or Twitter.
  • Leave blinds and curtains in normal positions wherever possible, taking care not to expose belongings.
  • Protect valuables from theft (important papers, jewelry, etc.) by securing them in a home safe or safe deposit box.
  • Make sure your computer is turned off and disconnected from the Internet, particularly if it contains personal information.
  • Put away or shred telltale bills and receipts that add to the risk of identity theft.
  • Activate your alarm system and notify the home security company of your days away providing them with interim contact information.
  • Ensure all windows and doors are securely locked before you leave for vacation.
  • Finish all yard work before you go while giving special attention to trimming trees and shrubs near windows and entries.
  • Improve exterior lighting by putting outdoor lighting on timers. Add motion-sensitive lamps in dark pockets, as well as in natural pathways.
  • Remove secret keys from their undisclosed outdoor locations, providing only one of your duplicates to the person who’ll be in charge while you’re out of town.
  • Organize your neighbors.
  • A neighborhood watch won’t cost you anything but some time. For tips, visit www.ncpc.org.
  • Have a house helper collect your mail, parcels and newspapers daily.
  • Invite a neighbor or family member to park a car in your driveway.
  • Inform the local police department of your plans so they can add your home to their vacation watch list.