With many people heading off on vacations this time of year, burglars are out in full force. They know properties may be unattended, plus they don’t have to deal with the harsh weather conditions that arise in winter, so unfortunately for residents, there is more incentive for break-ins to occur.
If you’re going away soon, this is a cause for concern. However, note that there are proactive steps you can take to help make your home safer so you can truly enjoy your vacation.
One of the best ways to keep your home protected from intruders is to buy the best home security system you can afford, have it installed correctly, and keep it well maintained. Most burglars won’t bother trying to break into a house if they can tell there’s security on site, and will move on to the next potential target.
If you’ve had your system for a while, give it a once over before you leave for your trip. Be on the lookout for tree branches or other greenery or debris covering up cameras; dead batteries or other power sources; and cameras with broken glass.
Also, make sure you advertise that you have a security system. Most products come with signs for you to put up around your yard, but if not, you can buy “Monitoring system in place” or “Cameras watching you” type signs online and elsewhere.
Get a Friend or Neighbor’s Assistance
It also pays to enlist the help of a reliable friend or neighbor to keep an eye on things while you’re away. A neighbor might be happy to park their car in your driveway so the house looks more lived in, for example. You’ll also want to ask someone to collect any unexpected deliveries that get left while you’re away, and put your bins out each week. They can also generally keep an eye and ear out for potential lurkers who shouldn’t be near your home.
Doing these small but important tasks helps with security as it means intruders aren’t alerted to your absence. Burglars who go past your home as they case your neighborhood will think you’re there like normal.
Maintain Some Services
There are some services you do want to have maintained while you’re away. This includes having outdoor maintenance people come to do their usual jobs. For instance, gardeners and lawn mowers, pool cleaners, snow removalists, and the like.
If you receive invoices for these kinds of jobs by email, you can pay them like normal while you’re away, and therefore don’t even have to tell your service personnel you’ll be on vacation. However, if you get bills by hand or sent by post, you may need to ask for extra time for payment.
Put Some Services on Hold
Before you go on your trip, ring up any regular service providers who leave items at your home and ask them to put your service on hold for the period you’re away. In particular, do this with your mail or put a redirect in place for a time. You should also hold newspaper and magazine deliveries, monthly subscriptions, and groceries or gas or other weekly or monthly deliveries.
Be Wary of Social Media Vacation Posts
Many people get caught out these days and leave their homes vulnerable because they post about their vacations online, on social media sites. You might not think much about doing this, but increasing numbers of criminals are using sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find houses to target. Save your posts until you come back from your trip, or get a house sitter in to stay in your home while you’re away (and advertise this security step on social media, too).
Don’t Make a Burglar’s Job Easy for Them
Of course, be careful not to make a burglar’s job easy for them. Check all the locks on your doors and windows to ensure they’re properly secured and working as they need to. Also, don’t leave a spare key outside your home anywhere an intruder might find it.
Keep in mind that criminals are aware of all the common places where homeowners leave keys and know what to be on the lookout for. For example, this includes spare keys put underneath doormats, on top of door ledges, hidden in or under pots, in dog kennels, or other obvious places.
You want your annual vacations to be memorable for all the right reasons. As such, it’s vital to take steps to ensure you don’t come home from your trip to discover your house has been broken into, or get an unhappy call while you’re away to let you know the bad news. Follow the ideas listed above, and you’ll be able to enjoy your trips to the fullest, and not have any nasty issues to deal with when you return.