There are a number of things that can ruin a vacation. Delayed flights, lost luggage, hotel reservations that have been mysteriously cancelled, and bad weather can all combine to sabotage your perfect plans and render your vacation less than stellar.
However, one of the worst things that can happen while you travel might not be something that you’re immediately aware of. If your home is broken into, a rained out beach day is likely to be the least of your concerns.
As homeowners accumulate more things that are attractive to thieves, such as jewelry, electronics, guns, and gadgets, it’s important to know that your home is secure when you leave for extended periods of time. While many homeowners have alarm systems, they’re not always enough to deter potential burglars and thieves. Today’s homeowner needs to look beyond the obvious home security solutions and investigate alternative safety options as well, because that’s exactly what is needed to keep your home and your property safe and secure.
Get That Lived-In Look
One of the easiest ways to deter potential thieves is for them to see that your home looks lived in and there are signs of recent activity. Enlist the help of your neighbors and ask that they collect newspapers and mail on a daily basis. If there is a pile of newspapers on the porch and an overflowing mailbox that’s a sure sign that no one is home.
Be certain that your lawn is mowed just before you leave, and adhere to a regular landscaping schedule while you’re gone. Additionally, be certain that all bushes and shrubs are kept trimmed so as not to provide a hiding place for burglars.
Lastly, leave the lights on. This doesn’t mean that you have to rely on outdated electric timers. There are several different smartphone apps that let you control your lights remotely, and your home security system may already have that feature installed. Just be certain that you turn lights on and off at normal times to ensure that it looks natural.
It’s exciting to take a vacation and it’s natural to want to share your experiences with your friends and family, but posting updates and check-ins while you’re away can tip off thieves to the fact that your house is currently empty.
Make sure that your privacy settings on Facebook are up to date and avoid tagging other people in your vacation posts. Once you do that your updates, photos, and locations are visible to a host of people you don’t know, which could pique the interest of some unsavory characters. Additionally, deactivate the automatic GPS features on smartphone social media apps.
If you’re traveling with children or teens make sure that you give them the same information and double check their privacy settings, just to be on the safe side.
All Keyed Up
Of course you’re going to make sure that all doors and windows are locked before you go, but that’s not always enough to deter home invaders. Locks can be picked and keys are often lost, which leaves your home and valuables vulnerable.
Consider a keyless entry lock system for your home. These high tech lock mechanisms have evolved to meet security demands, and can be operated by alphanumeric codes, fingerprints, and even via smartphone. You’ll also get alerts regarding your lock’s activity and you can lock and unlock the door remotely which is useful for pet sitters or other situations where you might need to open the doors while you’re away.
Common sense is also a factor here. Don’t hide keys in obvious places, limit the number of house keys that you entrust others with, and if you ever feel that your locks have been compromised change them immediately.
If you have a garage with an automatic opener it’s wise to turn it off while you’re gone. Thieves often check parked cars for garage remote control devices and simply smash the window to take them. If the electrical supply to the garage door motor is deactivated the remote control is useless. In the end it’s better to replace a car window than the contents of your home.
Additionally, if you have room in your garage it’s best to put your car in there. If you don’t have room, consider cleaning the garage to make some. Thieves will often watch a house for several days before a break in attempt and if your car hasn’t changed position it’s a good indication that no one is home.
Vacations are a time to relax and have fun, and it would be a shame to have that trip ruined because your home’s security has been tampered with. Make sure you’re vigilant before you go, have up to date security systems and locks, keep quiet on social media, and enlist the aid of your neighbors. Once all of the bases are covered you can truly enjoy your hard-earned vacation.