Summer is an awesome time of year for many reasons, but one of the best ways to enjoy the seasons is by taking a summer vacation.

Summer is one of the most popular times of the year for vacations (thanks to the kids extended time off from school). But unfortunately, that also means it’s a prime time of year for home invasions and burglaries.

A big part of the uptick in crime during the summer might have to do with the increase in empty homes thanks to summer vacations. But as long as you take the steps to protect your home, you can avoid coming home to an unfortunate situation.

Here are five ways to protect your home while you’re off enjoying your summer vacation:

1. Install An Alarm System

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Obviously, the best way to protect your home from potential burglars is by installing an alarm system. Just the threat of an alarm system (like a sign in your yard or a sticker on a window) can be enough to deter potential burglars.

When you install an alarm system, the company equips all potential entry ways with alarms. If someone tries to enter the home while the alarm is enabled, the alarm will ring until someone disables it with a code. If the alarm isn’t disabled, the alarm company will immediately notify both you and the authorities and send police to investigate the break-in.

Some alarm companies also install cameras at the entrances which you can connect to your phone, giving you the ability to check in on your property while you’re away on vacation.

Check in with local alarm companies and get estimates; companies will often offer incentives like discounted rates or free installation in order to get your business.

2. Pay Someone To Mow The Lawn

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If you’re going to be traveling for an extended period of time, make sure you hire someone to mow the lawn. An overgrown lawn is a visible indicator that no one’s in the home and can attract unwanted attention.

Have someone mow the lawn on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. And as an added bonus, since someone is taking care of maintenance, you don’t have to worry about coming home to a nightmare of lawn to deal with after your vacation!

If you hire someone you know and trust, you might also ask the person taking care of your lawn to do a quick walk-through of the home and make sure everything is in working order. If you have a maintenance issue inside the home while you’re gone, the person can bring it to your attention before it gets out of hand.

3. Don’t Forget About The Mail

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Before you leave for your vacation, put a hold on your mail with the USPS. An overflowing mailbox isn’t ideal for a number of reasons; first off, it’s a sure sign that your family is away. And on top of that, an overflowing mailbox increases the chance that something might fall out and get lost in the shuffle.

Protect your home (and your mail!) and put a hold on delivery until you return from your vacation.

4. Set Timers

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Nothing says “empty house” like a home that stays dark for 12 days straight. Setting timers on your electronics, including lights and televisions, can give the illusion that people are occupying the home even when you’re miles away enjoying your vacation.

You can pick up timers at any hardware store (or on Amazon), plug them into your electronics, and program them to turn on and off at specified times.

5. Be Cautious on Social Media

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When you’re on vacation, you want to share all your fun photos and status updates of the fun time you and your family are enjoying. But it’s important to be cautious on social media.

Publicly posting you’re on vacation on social media can let the wrong person know that you’re not currently occupying your home.

Make sure that your social media accounts are set to “private” before sharing any of your vacation updates; that way, the only people who see your updates are people you know and trust and you avoid broadcasting to the world your home is unoccupied.

You deserve a vacation. Just make sure you follow these tips to protect your home while you’re off enjoying your time off.

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