Jul 24, 2018

Keeping Your Home Safe While on Summer Vacation

Keeping your home safe while on summer vacation

That old adage, “better safe than sorry” is more than just a paranoid rambling. If you could do simple tasks to ensure that your home is safe while you’re on summer vacation, isn’t that worth it? During the summer months, burglary rates jump to 11% higher than other times throughout the year. You may have a smart home with a great security system, but these tips to keep your home safe while on summer vacation will keep those alarm systems from ever going off. When you come home from your relaxing getaway, you’ll want to be sure you’re returning to your home the way you left it!

  • Neighbors – You can ask your friends and neighbors to keep an eye on your home while you’re gone. A better option is to have them periodically water your outdoor plants, feed the pets, and take in your mail and packages. If done at random times throughout the day, it will appear that there is always someone home.  Any would-be burglars that are watching the home will be under the impression that it’s an active home – not an empty one. Consider baking some cookies or treats, preparing “movie nights” or asking a friend to stay the night to make your favor a little sweeter.
  • Mail – When your mail stacks up, it becomes obvious that no one is in the home. Head over to USPS Hold Mail and sign up online to have your mail put on hold until you return. The post office can hold your mail for you for up to 30 days. When you return, simply pick it up! If you subscribe to a daily newspaper, contact the company and ask if they can hold or pause your deliveries, as well. The one thing you cannot predict, is mailers, flyers and promotional pamphlets that solicitors will leave on your door. This is why it’s so important to ask a neighbor to stop by.
  • Curtains – You’ve probably heard contradictory advice on this task – leave the curtains open or closed while you’re gone? If you close them, neighbors can’t see inside should an emergency occurs, but vagrants also can’t see inside. But if you keep them open, you’re left exposed. Here’s how to balance this issue: leave them exactly as they would be, if you were home. If your curtains are closed for 2 weeks, that’s definitely a red flag for burglars. Those noticeable changes invite crime into your home. Ask a neighbor or friend to manage your curtains – opening them when they usually are opened, and closing when that’s normal. Also be sure to move computers, TVs, and other expensive items from the view of your windows. 
  • Lights – A great way to create the appearance of an occupied home is lighting. Lights shouldn’t stay on 24/7 while you’re gone, because that’s obvious and suspicious. A better way to manage the lights is to purchase a programmable light switch timer. If you have a smart home, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of the lighting features your system may offer. You could remotely turn on and off lights, or schedule them right from your phone!  There are some nice suggestions in this post for security systems that incorporate remote lighting control.
  • Social Media – It’s always fun to announce that you’re leaving for a week boating trip or flying to another country. It’s the bragging rights we all love having when we can. However, the more this information spreads on social media, the more vulnerable your home becomes.  Once that information is online, you have very little control of it. Instead, post photos and videos of your trip after you return.
  • Landscaping – Should you plan a vacation longer than a week, you’ll want to remember your landscaping. Overgrown lawns that are normally manicured are as good as a welcome mat to would-be criminals. Be sure you schedule lawn maintenance while you’re away, not only for the health of your lawn and curb appeal, but to keep passers by from noticing that you aren’t home.
  • Locks – It may seem obvious, but in the chaos of packing and organizing, locking subtle places in your home might slip your mind. Be sure all windows are tightly secured, including any upstairs or attic windows. If you have a shed out back, slap a padlock on it to protect your lawn mower and other items you store in there. Doggie doors are a great way for burglars to gain access to your home, and simply blocking the door with heavy furniture won’t necessarily thwart them. Instead, board it up or purchase a Pet Door Lock to be sure no critters or criminals are sneaking in.  Another easy access point is your garage. Thieves can use universal remotes to gain entry, so turn off your garage door opener before you head out.
  • Spare Key – If you keep a spare key for easy access in emergencies, take it with you or leave it with a friend or neighbor. If a thief realizes you are gone for an extended period of time, you can bet they will be hunting under rocks, doormats and garden gnomes on your porch. 

These simple tasks can help you feel more secure while you’re on vacation this summer. Ask friends for help, plan ahead, and you’ll have a much more relaxing time on your trip.  It really is better to be safe than sorry! 

Be sure to browse our suggestions for the Best Security and Alarm Systems for your home, too!