Monday, November 10

Before You Go Out Of Town: Tips on Burglar Proofing Your Home

There are things we never forget. One such memory occurred for me in the winter of 1979, just a few months after our family moved to Dallas. I was in the 8th grade. 

It was a cold, dark night when a ringing telephone woke us up. No - it wasn't our telephone, it was our neighbors. My Dad looked out the bedroom window to find a man crawling through the window next door. Our neighbors were being robbed! The burglar had gotten our neighbor's telephone number and someone was ring the phone as he was robbing them. This was his way of knowing no one was in the house.

Being new to the big city life, this was WAY out of our comfort zone. From then on, whenever we left the house, my father had a routine down as what to do to make the thieves think someone was in our home.  

Many of us will be going away for the holidays. Here are some tips to make your home more burglar proof:
  • Put your newspaper and mail on hold. Have the mail and paper stopped a few days before you leave. We went on vacation one year for two weeks only to come home and find our mailbox packed with two weeks worth of newspapers in the yard! Make sure it's been stopped is all I'm saying.
  • Put your lights on a timer. We have timers for every room in the house. Mr.P is cautious. Also leave the light over the stove on all the time, as the kitchen is one room that tends to have lights on the most.
  • Leave a stereo on a talk radio station. You can also put your stereo on a timer - your television as well. 
  • Drapes, open or closed? There is some debate about leaving drapes open or closed. Some maintain that by closing them you indicate that you are not at home. Others feel that by leaving them open in order to look like you are at home you invite look-ins by potential burglars. Still others recommend a combination, leaving some open (that look into rooms where there is little of value) while closing others (those that look into what should be occupied rooms.) A nice compromise is to leave upstairs curtains open while first floor drapes shut. Whatever your decision remove expensive and inviting items from view from outside the window.
  • Park your car in the drive way. This is another debated tactic. Some highly recommend it to make it look like someone is home. Others maintain that a car that doesn't move is a tip off. Still others recommend offering your neighbor a place to park.
  • Padlock all gates. Make your backyard inaccessible. Padlocking your gates when you are at home can be inconvenient, but the advantages of doing it while you are on vacation are great. It not only makes getting into the backyard more difficult, but it seriously hinders getting out while carrying items like stereos and computers. This difficulty level serves as a strong deterrent.
  • Let a neighbor know where you are going. Leave a contact number and a key with them or someone you trust. 
  • Make sure all doors and windows are locked before you leave. This is a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised! 
  • Make sure the alarm system is armed. As obvious as this may sound, quite often in the rush to get out the door this can be overlooked.
  • Don't tell anyone you are leaving town. Don't excitedly tell the teller at the bank you are about to leave town - she has your address you know. Remember social media as well. Posting your out of town holiday plans online is like announcing to the world that your home is up for grabs!
The Domestic Curator


  1. After someone tried to break into our house, the Austin Police said to close all the blinds and curtains for sure.

  2. Ohhh, scary! I have a girlfriend that had a recent break-in - and they were home! Thieves are getting bold! I live in Dallas, our crime rate is sadly not the best.

  3. We were burglarized while we were away at Christmas 2 years ago. However, the burglar was a friend of our son, a kid who sadly we considered almost like another son and our son considered to be like a brother. It took 5 months for that to be determined and he was just convicted in September, almost 2 years later. He had asked our son what we were doing for Christmas and our son told him we were going away. I don't think we could have prevented that one because you can't live you life so guarded that you can't even talk to your dear friends about your vacation plans. Clearly, this young man turned into something we didn't expect and we hope he's on the road to recovery, but this is probably something we'll never quite get over. Anyway, you've shared a lot of good tips that will probably help when the burglar is a random stranger.


  4. That can be so so traumatic! Sorry you had to deal with all of those emotions. Sadly it's the world we live in. We try to be aware and take measures as we live in a large metro area. So sad that it was a friend......

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