Vacations are supposed to be relaxing and worry-free getaways. That’s often difficult when you suddenly realize everything you own is languishing unguarded for an extended period, hundreds of miles away. Most homes have secluded windows and doors in backyards, with plenty of other potential points of entry. It’s easy to see why single-family homes are prime targets for burglars.
To make your vacation truly relaxing, there are some things every homeowner can do to reduce the risk of a break in.
Stash Your Stuff
Keep small items, like jewelry or rare coins, in a safety deposit box at the bank. For other valuables, you’ll need to find good hiding places. Since burglars don’t want to spend too much time inside a home, they’ll only check the places people usually hide things, like under a mattress or the bottom of a sock drawer. Come up with a few creative stashes and criminals will probably never find where you’ve hidden your stuff.
Give Your Home That Lived-In Look
Before the digital age, timers would turn lights on and off at exactly the same time each day. It didn’t take criminals long to see that, when the lights in a house all turned off at precisely 11 p.m. for several nights in a row, the house was probably empty. Today, there are several products like Apple’s HomeKit, which allow you to monitor motion and sound, check your locks, turn lights on and off, and view every room of your home with a webcam.
Have a Human Presence
A good deterrent is to have someone in your home at random times. Since burglars are often loners not looking to socialize, they won’t risk the possibility of human interaction. Ask a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member if they can enter your home every day for a quick look around. Their presence will deter criminals, and they can also provide a cursory check of the premises to ensure that the electricity is on and the water heater isn’t leaking. They may even feed your goldfish and water your plants, if you ask them nicely. You say you have no trusted friends, neighbors, or family members? No problem—you can hire some, which may be even better.
Don’t Discuss Your Plans on Social Media
It’s tempting to want to make your Facebook friends envious by telling them of your impending trip to Bali, but resist the temptation. Don’t discuss your plans, and don’t post that selfie of you and a Komodo dragon until you return home. Criminals comb social media sites looking for vacation announcements and photos. Posting vacation details and photos is like inviting criminals into your home to rob you. Discuss your trip and post geotagged vacation pics after you return. Your friends will laugh just as hard at the Komodo dragon with your head in its mouth after you’re home.
A few simple steps will make your summer vacations or getaways worry free. You’ll come back to a home that’ll only look ransacked if you left it that way before your trip.