After you have planned your vacation, there is still at least one more thing to do, which is protecting your home while you are on vacation. Most people would like to believe nothing bad will happen while they are on vacation, but it’s important to be more realistic and prepared. To protect your home, the most important advice is that you make it look like people are home and as though your home is not actually unattended.
If you can make it look like people are still at home and as though there is activity in your home, you are far less likely to be robbed or burglarized.
· One idea is to have some exterior work on your home done while you are away such as landscaping or exterior painting. Just be sure that any invoices are mailed to you and aren’t simply taped to your front door, making it obvious that no one is home.
· Installing motion-activated lights is a great way to deter criminal activity because if you have motion-activated exterior lights, if someone gets too close to your home, the lights will turn on automatically.
· Another option is electronic timers, which are only helpful if they are on a varied schedule from day to day. If the lights come on and off at a certain time each day, someone who has been watching your home for a period of time will have a pretty good idea that no one is home. There are actually timers now that you can control with an app on your smart phone, which is probably one of the best options because you could vary the times on your own, which would make it look as though someone was home.
· Having some kind of noisemaker is a good idea. The best option would be something that sounds like an actual conversation or talking. Anyone close to the home that was considering robbing you would hear this and hopefully change their mind.
· Another way to protect your home is to ask a trusted friend or neighbor to visit your home several times per week just to check on everything. This person could bring in your papers and mail so that they don’t pile up. Stopping the mail is said to be a good tactic, but a smart criminal will notice that the mail isn’t being delivered and see this as a red flag that no one is home.
· Security systems are a good idea and at the very least it’s good to have a system that has a control panel, window sensors, motion sensors, and glass breakage sensors. Many alarm systems available these days can be monitored with by a smart phone.
· Separate from burglaries, power surges can be detrimental to your electronics and appliances. You can safeguard your electronics and appliances by either unplugging your appliances (except refrigerator) or installing good quality surge protectors. Make sure that any surge protector your buy has the ability to withstand a large load of power.
· Social media is useful and fun, but is a curse when it comes to protecting your home while on vacation. Don’t broadcast your vacation status on the web saying that you are about to go on vacation or be out of town. This is just stupid if you are attempting to protect you home. Even worse than announcing our departure through social media is posting or broadcasting pictures of yourself on vacation while on vacation. Think about it – why would you want to provide people with photographic evidence that you are not home and that your home is ripe for being burglarized?
· If you do have a security system with an alarm monitoring company, you should let them know that you will be out of town, so if your alarm trips for even a moment, they know to show up fast with guns drawn. Of course you should definitely ensure that you actually set your alarm when you leave or it will be of no use to you!
· If you live in an area that experiences below freezing temperatures, be sure to protect your pipes from bursting by properly insulating them. Another option is to have a trusted friend or family member come into your home a few times during the week and turn on all of your faucets for a brief amount of time. You should never turn your thermostat completely off when you’re away because you don’t really want the temperature to drop below 60 degrees or get warmer than 80-85 degrees.
· It should go without saying, but you need to lock all of your doors in windows.
· Be sure to lock your garage, since this is place where criminals could steal things even if they never entered your house.
· Do not leave spare keys outside of your house. Every burglar knows that people hide keys in weird places outside and will likely look for them.
· Many different studies have concluded that if it will take a burglar longer than 5 minutes to break into your home, they simply won’t do it.
Remember that taking all the precautions listed above will reduce your chance of being robbed, but are not a guarantee that it won’t happen to you. The tips above will definitely make it more difficult to break into your home and will make it take longer, which are very good deterrents. Enjoy your vacation, but remember to think of what things need to be done prior to your departure that will protect your home while you are away.