Should you tell the neighbors when you're going away?

A common question we hear people ask about home security is, "Should I tell my neighbors if I'm going on vacation?"

Everyone has their own opinion on this issue. Ultimately, your answer probably boils down to how well you know your neighbors, and how much you trust them.

But let's just assume you're on good terms with your neighbors. Unless you have reason to believe they're bad guys, then the answer is a resounding YES, you should always notify your neighbors when you're going away for an extended time.

When you let your neighbor know that you'll be gone, they'll be more likely to take action if they notice anything suspicious: a stranger walking around the property, an unfamiliar car parked out front, an open door/window and so on.

Even better, ask your neighbor if they mind parking in the driveway. This will create the appearance that someone is home, which will help to deter burglars. For further precaution, ask your neighbor if they can help "housesit" a little bit – water the plants, check on pets, bring in the mail, or even mow the lawn and trim the hedges. An overflowing mailbox and unkempt lawn are clear signs that the home is vacant – an open invitation for thieves.

How long of a trip warrants you to notify your neighbors? Generally speaking, if you're going away for a weekend or longer, it can't hurt to tell them. One week, two weeks, a full month or more – definitely ask a neighbor (or friend) to check on the house periodically.

All it takes is a quick phone call or email (or an old-fashioned knock on the front door) to let your neighbor know. Most neighbors will be happy to keep an eye out for suspicious activity, at the very least – and that alone can be the difference between a secure house and one that's broken into.

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