You booked your airfare. A rental car is reserved. Bags are packed. T-minus one week, and you are on your way! You have prepared and planned this trip well, but have you prepared your house for departure? Have you prepared against any unwanted company while you are gone? Learn how to protect your home while on vacation by following this simple guide.
Here are some steps to take before you take off so you can have that much-needed relaxing trip without worrying about the security of your home.
When you think about burglars, you may think of them driving through a neighborhood and breaking into any house that appears to be an opportune target. However, the reality is that criminals are scoping out targets through physical and online surveillance ahead of time.
As your departure day closes in, look around your neighborhood for vehicles that look out of place, especially at night. If you see one, is it occupied? Is the engine running? A pile of cigarette butts outside the window? If you see something suspicious, drop a call to the police (a non-emergency police line is an option) and check with your neighbors if they notice anything as well.
Have you taken a look through social media and noted all the vacation photos of friends off in exotic locations or just out visiting their hometown? Most, if not all, of the ones you see, are posted in real-time, as they happened. You may also notice their profile is set to public, so even potential burglars can see the posts and their vacant home’s location. They have inadvertently made themselves an easy target.
Burglars are scanning social media for targets, so don’t make it easy for them to target you. You may really want to share how great, or not so great, that trip is going. Perhaps, the best idea is to wait until you return to make any social media posts. On top of holding back on posting, check your privacy settings and safeguard your home’s location.
You locked down your internet presence; now it’s time to lock down your home.
Have you changed the locks since moving in? If not, check out some of the newer locks that are tougher to defeat than most typical locks.
A decade ago, it would be costly to have your home alarmed. A technician would hardwire a system throughout your house, including connecting to your landline phone. The whole security system may cost upward of +$500 to fully secure your home, not including monthly monitoring.
Today, you can install a system yourself that can secure most homes for under $200. In addition, the newer systems operate on cellular networks, have battery backup, and can be used with wireless attachments throughout your home. As a result, there is no real need for hardwiring and landline telephones. Another great factor is you can tailor the system to meet your needs, from window sensors to motion detectors to infrared cameras.
Check out cameras as well. They are very affordable, and many can be integrated into your camera system. Also, check out cameras that include motion sensors combined with cell/internet notifications.
You want your home to look like it is still occupied and business as usual. Remember that surveillance talked about it? Burglars are looking for empty houses and easy targets.
Burglars are looking for packages left overnight, newspapers (if you still get them), and may pop open your mailbox to look for mail left in the box at night.
In advance of your trip, stop your mail delivery and request delivery after you return. Expecting a package? Ask a trusted neighbor or friend to pick it up for you. If you are old school, stop the newspaper delivery as well.
The friend or neighbor watching out for your house may be an excellent recruit to move your cars around while you are gone. The goal is to make it look like your home is occupied and business as usual.
About that friend or neighbor watching out for your house, make sure you can trust them and that they are reliable. They will literally have the keys and access to your home.
Bags are waiting by the door, and you are ready to go. Let’s take a look at some areas to secure right before you leave.
Starting with your garage, if you have one. If possible, disconnect the electric opener and ensure the door is locked, including any other entry doors.
Take a walk through the inside of your house and ensure the windows are locked and doors are secured.
Walking around the outside. Lock your car doors and secure anything you wouldn’t want to be stolen, i.e., bikes, etc. Are your motion-activated backlights working? You have them, right?
You’re off! Now enjoy that trip.