The holidays are approaching and you may be on your way to visit your family or take a vacation. As you prepare for your trip, it’s crucial to secure your home. This means being able to ward off the bad people who are scoping out the neighborhood and looking to break into the easiest homes. So, how do you stay off the radar and protect yourself from potential intruders? You can either pull a Home Alone and set up an intricate web of booby traps, or you can follow these simples tips to keep your home safe while you’re away.
While it’s exciting to talk about going on vacation, it’s also very dangerous to post about it on social media. It’s like carrying a megaphone around the web to potential thieves, saying, “hey, I’m easy prey!”
Imagine this: a person comes up to your home and see a package or mail with your name on it. With a quick Google search, they find a status update that says, “We are having an amazing time in the Bahamas!” Sounds like a great opportunity for this person to scope out the place and take their sweet time breaking into your home while you enjoy your vacation.
If you have furry animals or are leaving your children at home (or Macaulay Culkin), then of course you will have a sitter to take care of them. And if you don’t have a sitter, you will need to find one. Ideally, you should have someone picked months in advance. If not, then asking around for recommended sitters from friends and family is the best bet. Services like Rover for pets and MindMyHouse for homes are also great places to start.
It’s a heated debate on whether or not leaving on a light helps deter a burglar – we think it’s always a good idea to have well-placed security or motion-sensored lights installed around the home or on your property. But, what about inside? But for the pennies you spend on leaving a lamp on, we recommend it’s worth it’s weight in cost. Even though more burglaries happen in mid-day when people are at work or taking kids to school, it’s still a good deterrent versus no lights – unless you’re in a rural area. Typically a frontal light like a family room or a bedroom light upstairs facing outward to the street will give a good indicator for prowlers to pass your house and keep on prowling.
After you’ve finally learned your keyless lock code, unfortunately it’s time to change it temporarily for your vacation. There is good reason for this, though. If you’ve put some nice wear and tear on the buttons, burglars can notice which numbers you have used over the others. This will give them a better chance of guessing the combination versus a completely new number. This means you need to change the code to a whole different set of numbers or a mix. Having a temporary lock code can also help and secure access to any sitters, friends, or family that need to get inside the home while you are away. Once back from vacation, you can switch it back.
If you’re going to be away for a longer period of time, it’s best practice to have someone come by and pick up your mail or newspapers that are piling up. This is a big signal to potential thieves that you’ve gone away and won’t be coming back for awhile. If you have a sitter, you can ask them to do this task as well. If it’s snowing, get the driveway shoveled – or if your car is outside, having the snow removed from the top.
With advancements in technology, you can now be laying on the white sand beach sipping on mojitos and get notifications of any activity is happening around your house. Ring is a video camera doorbell that, once rung, will send a video call to you to talk to the person at your doorstep. This can deter any intruders thinking you are home or you can take proper action if they try anything. There are also other security products that will notify you through text or email that there has been movement activity around your home. Last but not least is a security alarm that can notify you if any breach has been made within your home.
Yes, it’s a hassle to turn on your alarm every time you go out. It could be only 5 minutes that you’re gone or maybe an hour, but a burglar on average takes 8-12 minutes when robbing a place. Turning on your alarm system every time, and especially when going on vacation, will make sure neighbors and bystanders look at what’s going on. If you have an advance system, it will also notify the authorities.
Before heading off for vacation, it’s a good idea to take a look around your home for any valuable or priceless items and storing them in a safe or hiding them. If your home does become a highlight on the local news, then it’s best to make it as hard as possible for the thieves to get the important stuff. LifeHacker did a piece on best places to hide valuable items in your home. There are some great recommendations, like hiding items inside the fridge wrapped in tinfoil or inside a toy in the children’s room. We also suggest hiding your car keys, due to replacements being typically expensive. It also prevents access to your car at the time of burglary or anytime after.
This is a no-brainer. If you want to keep a thief out, you’re going to want to check and ensure that all of the door locks and windows are securely fastened. Make sure to use a deadbolt lock, as well as the handle lock. If you have a screen door, lock it as well.
If you need to beef up your locks or security, contact us to see what we can do to.