By Beth Mulcahy, Esq.
As you plan your vacation, do not forget to think about your home while away. Giving some thought to your home before you go on vacation could mean the difference between coming back “home”, or to a home that has been vandalized and a mailbox full of association warnings.
Make it look like someone is home
A burglar will tell you that they look for opportunity, so if your home appears to be vacant, it is a target. Counter act that by maintaining an appearance of occupancy, 1. to remain in compliance with the association; and 2. to reduce the likelihood of a burglary attempt.
Timers on your lighting can automatically regulate the interior lighting of your home and can create the appearance that someone is home. Use timers when on vacation and set them to mimic the time and lights you would have on if you were at home.
A timer or motion sensor on exterior lighting is also important. Burglars do not like light so yards and doorways should be lit. Be sure you are within the association guidelines for exterior lighting.
Keep your landscaping as if you were home
A well-maintained lawn/landscape sends a signal that someone is at home and will prevent you from receiving a warning from the association regarding maintenance. Consider hiring a landscaper for the vacation period if you do not already have one. Also be sure the door hangers, newspapers and advertisements are picked up and not left on the front door or in the driveway.
Facebook is not the place to advertise your vacation plans
Let a trusted neighbor and family members know of your plans and ask if they might keep an eye your home while you are gone. They could pick up your newspaper, mail and any junk mail that may accumulate on the driveway or front door. An alternative to having someone pick up your mail is to have it temporarily suspended at the post office.
Consider becoming a member of a Neighborhood Watch group whether going on vacation or not. It is a grass roots organization aimed at reducing crime in the community through shared involvement of neighbors. Neighbors look out for each other’s property, are aware of what goes on in the neighborhood and can alert police of anyone suspicious.
Have a wonderful summer!
I love your Neighborhood Watch comments. Our Our community association management company will not assist us with establishing a Neighborhood Watch because they feel they could be held liable. Is this sort of crazy? I have been very active in other HOA’s where the Neighborhood Watch was the heart of the HOA.