SUMMER VACATION SECURITY TIPS TO KEEP YOUR HOME SAFE
Planning on going somewhere fun for summer vacation? Don’t forget to make sure your house is safe and secure before you leave. These summer vacation home security tips will make it easy to maintain peace of mind and ensure a happy homecoming.
SET LOCKS AND ALARMS
Open windows and doors are easy targets for would-be home intruders. Make sure to close and lock all of your home’s doors and windows before you leave, and don’t forget to set your home security alarm as well. Jog your memory for these small tasks with a to-do checklist or helpful phone alarm before you head out.
If your pets are going to stay home while you’re away, you might want to leave a window cracked so they can enjoy a cool breeze in-between visits from a pet sitter. While your pets will appreciate this, it’s still important to keep your house secure. Luckily, you can invest in specialty locks for windows or sliding patio doors.
Depending on the type of windows you have, you could install hinged wedge, keyed sash, folding and other window locks. These locks prevent would-be intruders from being able to open the window enough to fit through. You can also find locks that fit onto a sliding door’s tracks to achieve a similar effect.
If you’re on a budget, you can use a thick piece of PVC pipe or wooden dowel to act as a makeshift lock. Open your window or sliding patio door just enough for some fresh air to come in, but not enough for a person to enter. Then measure the amount of track that’s left exposed. Have a piece of pipe or dowel cut to that length, then put it in place. This makeshift lock will let you keep a window or sliding door cracked but secure.
Before you go, test your lock installation to make sure it’s sturdy and secure. If you live in a neighborhood where break-ins are common, it may be better to err on the side of caution and leave everything completely closed and locked.
DON’T BROADCAST YOUR ABSENCE
Home intruders generally seek easy opportunities to get in and out of a house unnoticed. That means they’re always on the lookout for an obviously empty home. Luckily, it’s not that hard to fool them.
These are a few quick and easy things you can do to thwart potential break-ins by masking the symptoms of an empty house:
Ask neighbors to park in your driveway, especially overnight
Leave some lights on in your home, or put devices like TVs and lamps on a timer so your home shows regular signs of activity
Ask friends, relatives or trusted neighbors to check in on your home in the evenings a few times while you’re gone. Invite them to stay and have dinner or watch a movie on your couch so it looks like someone’s home
Stop mail and newspaper delivery so your mailbox doesn’t overflow and papers don’t sit untouched in your driveway
Ask a trusted neighbor to collect flyers, packages and other front-porch deliveries that might pile up while you’re gone
Set your lawn sprinklers to run and have someone keep your garden plants watered. Wilting plants are a sign that garden maintenance isn’t happening, which could signal your absence
If break-ins are common in your neighborhood or you’re going on a really long vacation, you may want to hire a house sitter to keep up a seamless appearance of activity and take care of all the little things on this list. Make sure to get references if you need to hire a house sitter that you haven’t met before.
Another important thing to think about: don’t use social media to announce that you’re going on vacation. It may seem harmless to make a fun Facebook post about how excited you are for your trip, but that can be an easy source of information for someone looking for empty homes. If your social media accounts aren’t set to private, it’s best to wait until after your vacation is over to post about it. If you choose to post publicly about other topics while you’re away, make sure to avoid using geotags that could let someone know you aren’t home.
PUT VALUABLES AWAY
As part of their easy-opportunity strategy, home invaders often look through a home’s windows to see if there are any obvious valuables they can quickly grab. This means you should avoid leaving valuables sitting out in plain sight whenever possible.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to lock up your 65” LED TV. Large, bulky objects are hard to hide, and that means they’re also difficult to carry and conceal during a robbery. On the other hand, small things that can inconspicuously slip into a pocket or backpack are definitely worth hiding.
A little common sense in reducing opportunity will likely do the trick. For example, don’t leave your sleek new laptop sitting on the kitchen table in plain sight from the sidewalk. Put it inside your laptop bag in a closet. If you have valuable jewelry that you normally display on top of your bedroom dresser, store it in a drawer instead.
STAYING SAFE THIS SUMMER
Smart home security doesn’t take a lot of effort. With just a few steps, you can make your home a lot less vulnerable while you’re away. Taking care of these things before you depart will give you the freedom to fully unplug and unwind.