While you’re luxuriating in a tropical locale or in a quaint European town enjoying time with friends or loved ones, thieves could be planning to attack your home and ruin more than your vacation. There are some easy steps you can take to make your home look occupied while you’re away and protect your property.
“If it looks like there are still people at home, you are much less likely to be robbed,” said A Secure Life. “Do everything you can to make it look like there is activity both inside and outside the house.”
Add a security system
If you don’t want to deal with the monthly output, you can buy a DIY alarm system like iSmart Alarm, offering an eight-piece set “with an alarm hub, two window sensors, two door sensors, a motion sensor and two keychain remotes” for $189, said Freshome. “The premium package ($295) adds a security camera. An HD camera with audio and motion detection and recording capability also is available for $150.”
Get a Wi-Fi doorbell
Products like the SkyBell videotape visitors to your front door, which is accessible by Smartphone.
Vary your lights
If your home is being cased, would-be thieves may notice that the lights come on at the same time every day and figure that they’re on a timer. “With new smart lighting technology and home automation packages, homeowners now have the ability to maintain full control over how a living space is illuminated, even while no one is home. Brighten multiple rooms or dim lights from the other side of the city or the other side of the world with an app on your smartphone, or invest in a smart home system that alternates lighting on a schedule,” said Safewise.
Up your exterior light game
While you’re automating your lights, make sure you have enough of them on the outside of your home. A well-lit place is less likely to be an attractive target for a thief. And motion-activated lights that pop on when they sense movement outside your home can help protect it every day.
Let your neighbors know
If those who live closest to you know that you’re away, they’re likely to keep a closer eye on your home and be alerted to strange noises or unfamiliar faces.
Consider mail and newspaper delivery
Thieves may notice an overfilled mailbox and take that as a cue to hit your home. But, “A smart robber who is watching will notice that the mail is not being delivered,” said A Secure Life. “This is also a tell-tale sign that someone is out of town.” It might be best to continue with mail delivery and ask a neighbor to collect it for you.
Newspapers gathering on your front steps may be all the sign a thief needs to target your home. Suspending your delivery for the time you’re out of town is easy and smart.
Have a neighbor collect any fliers or door hangers littering your front door. One Chinese takeout menu on your welcome mat is no big deal, unless it’s there for a week. Three might be an indication that you’re not there, which could be an invitation to a thief to make their way in.
Check your doors and windows before you leave. You might not realize you have a back door or first-floor window that’s unlocked, but a thief will.
“Statistics have shown that roughly 30 percent of all home invasions are unforced entry, meaning they likely occur through an unlocked door or window,” said Safewise. “That’s not an insignificant number. A good rule of thumb? Check once, check twice, and then check again, because it’s easy to prevent someone from just walking right into your home. Making sure the palace is on lockdown while away is still one of the best deterrents out there.”
Chill on the social media updates
Just posted a pic on Facebook of the family hanging out on Maui or tweeted about a great restaurant you found near Disneyworld? You just gave thieves all the info they need to make your home next on their list. If you still want to make sure you’re sharing your good times online, set your profiles to private. Or, wait until you get back to share your photos.