After a long, cold winter, you're ready for summer and the trips you've been planning. These five home safety tips will help you set off on your adventures with peace of mind.

  1. Ask a neighbor to pick up the mail
  2. Hire a local teen to maintain the yard
  3. Get a security system
  4. Connect a radio or TV to a timer
  5. Leave dog toys in the front yard
Summer is a time for weekend getaways and family vacations—but leaving your home unattended could make it vulnerable to thieves. Higher rates of home burglary and larceny occur more often in the summer than in other seasons.1 And although crime rates are down overall in the US, people reported nearly 16 million property crimes, including thefts, burglaries or stolen cars, in 2016.2

When you're traveling, you want to feel confident that your home is safe and secure. One of the best ways to prevent a burglary is to make it look like someone is in the house. A few simple home safety tips can improve the odds that a thief will take one look at your place and move on. Here's how to keep your home safe while on vacation.

Ask a neighbor to pick up the mail

Nothing says "there's nobody home" like an overstuffed mailbox and a pile of newspapers on the front porch. You can fill out a simple form with the United States Post Office asking them to hold your mail. Or, better yet, have a trusted neighbor stop by to pick it up. It's always a good idea to inform your friends next door that you'll be gone. They can keep an eye on your house and call the police to report any suspicious activity. Don't forget to return the favor.

Hire a local teen to maintain the yard

An overgrown lawn and wilted flowers signal a homeowner's absence. Post an ad on, a free private social network for local communities. These days, fewer teens than ever have regular summer jobs.3 Many are spending more time in summer classes rather than working. This means you can probably find someone willing to do a few odd jobs to earn extra cash. Ask them to mow the lawn, water the plants, take out the trash, trim unwieldy shrubs and cut back weeds.

Set up a security system

A security system does more than set off an alarm if a burglar breaks in through a door or window. ADT lets you remotely control the Smart LED light bulbs and automate when lights turn on and off through the Pulse App, which is available on Android or Apple phones. You can set the lights to turn on at different times of the day to make different rooms appear occupied.

Connect a radio or TV to a timer

The sound of a radio or TV suggests someone is home. For shorter trips, consider turning one on loud enough that it can be heard from outside. If you're going to be gone for a longer amount of time, connect a radio or television to a timer, like the Smart Plug, which ADT lets you control remotely through the Pulse App.

Although you may think that you only need to create noise in the evening, don't neglect your home during the daytime. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice, robbers are more likely to break into a home between 10 and 11 a.m. or from 1 to 3 p.m., when most people are at work or school.5

Leave dog toys in the front yard

When asked as part of a survey about household theft, one convicted inmate said, "Dogs are a deal breaker for me ... Big breeds, home protectors are the best to keep people out."6

Dogs are trained to guard for a reason. They're loyal and tough, and big dogs are scary. But even if you don't own a dog, you can give a burglar pause by making him or her think that you do. University of Pennsylvania criminology professor Richard Berk suggests leaving a couple of dog toys in the front yard.4

You may also consider putting a "Beware of Dog" sign on the front door. If you can find one that depicts a German Shepherd, even better.

Protect your home when you're away

Summertime is fun time, so no doubt the last thing on your mind is how to keep your home safe while on vacation. But it only takes a small amount of time to implement these home safety tips before you head out on that dream trip. Leave knowing that your home will look well-occupied and won't attract unwanted attention.



  1. Lauritsen, Janet L., and White, Nicole. "Seasonal Patterns in Criminal Victimization Trends." Special Report, June 2014. U.S. Department of Justice. Accessed May 20, 2018.
  2. Morgan, Rachel E., and Kena, Grace. "Criminal Victimization." Bulletin, December 7, 2017. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Accessed May 20, 2018.
  3. Thompson, Derek. "Teenagers Have Stopped Getting Summer Jobs—Why?" The Atlantic, June 9, 2017. Accessed May 20, 2018.
  4. Hope, Paul. "Simple Steps to Protect Your Home While You're on Vacation." Consumer Reports, July 21, 2017. Accessed May 20, 2018.
  5. Weisel, Deborah Lamm. "Burglary of Single Family Houses." Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Series, No. 18. U.S. Department of Justice. Accessed May 21, 2018.
  6. Iboshi, Kyle. "We Asked 86 Burglars How They Broke Into Homes." KTVB, December 21, 2017. Accessed May 20, 2018.

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