You’ve saved up for two years, planned for a year and now that dream vacation to Hawaii is just days away. Yes, you’re setting off to a tropical paradise for 10 days of rest and relaxation – and while you’re sure to enjoy your vacation, a portion of your focus should also be dedicated to the home that you’re leaving for the next week and a half. That’s because a burglary happens roughly every 13 seconds in the United States, and thieves tend to prey on properties that they know are vacant. In fact, most home burglaries occur during the working hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., but when a thief knows that someone is gone for an extended period of time, it can be open season on a home if the right security measures aren’t taken.
So while you prepare for your vacation, also prepare to keep your property safe from would-be thieves. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to home security. Here’s a look at some simple tips and suggestions to improve your home security.
8 Ways to Safeguard Your Home While You’re Away
- Stay Off Social Media: We get it, you want to tell all of your Facebook friends and Twitter followers about how excited you are for your upcoming vacation and then share your adventures on your social networks throughout your trip. But that’s not a good idea, as advertising that you’re not home can serve as a welcoming to a potential wrongdoer – especially considering that many break-ins are by those who are familiar with the property. Hard as it may be, resist posting on social media in the days leading up to – and throughout – your vacation. Instead, opt to share your stories for when you return.
- Call the Police: Here’s a little known fact that many people don’t realize – a simple call to your local police department can do a lot of good while you’re away. That’s because many municipalities offer courtesy check-ups on properties upon request. That’s not to say that any police drive byes will be during a break-in attempt, but it certainly doesn’t hurt having the police swing by your home to make sure all is well from time to time while you’re away.
- Upgrade Your Locks: If a burglar is determined to get in your home, they’ll likely exhaust all of their options until they find a way to do so. But you can make it more difficult on them with the right locks. Minimally, your entry doors should have a deadbolt lock, but you can kick things up a notch by installing smart locks, where you can monitor any household activity from an integrated mobile app. Some smart locks even have built-in doorknob cameras, enabling you to view real-time video of what’s happening on your front porch. Smart locks also enable you to set temporary codes so that housekeepers or pet sitters can gain easy access while you’re away.
- Add Security Cameras (or the Illusion of them): Locks are important, but the existence of security cameras are said to be one of a thief’s primary determining factors as to whether to pursue a property or not. With that being said, it certainly won’t hurt to install a video surveillance system on your property. If that’s not in the budget, however, fake security cameras can also deter would-be crooks.
- Hold the Mail/Newspaper: Don’t let any potential wrongdoers get the impression that your home is vacant. Put a hold on the mail and on any newspapers that are delivered to your home. Mail pouring out of the mailbox and newspapers piling up in the driveway can serve as an invitation to thieves.
- Have Someone Check up on Your House: It never hurts to have someone periodically check up on your house, whether that someone is a trusted neighbor, friend or family member.
- Spruce up the Yard Before Leaving: Again, you don’t want to convey the impression that there’s nobody home, so it’s important to be proactive. This involves cutting the grass, pulling weeds and trimming the bushes before you leave for vacation so that your property doesn’t become unkempt, and potentially more welcoming, to a thief. Additionally, overgrown shrubs or trees also make for great hiding places as a thief is plotting access to your home.
- Other Tips: There is a variety of other things that you can do to safeguard your home while you’re away. For instance, set light timers so that there’s the illusion that you’re home in the evenings. If you have any spare keys hidden around the yard, find them and move them inside the house until you get back. Safeguarding your home doesn’t just have to do with protecting it from a break in, but potentially from the elements of Mother Nature as well. On that note, make sure your basement’s sump pump is working (if applicable), unplug electronics to minimize the risk of an electrical fire or short-circuiting during a power outage or lightning strike and keep your thermostat at a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit if you’re leaving in the winter to prevent your pipes from freezing.
While we certainly hope that you’re practicing many of these home security tips and suggestions, we can’t downplay the importance of having the right locks for your home. If you think your home needs its locks upgraded, updated or you just want to have your home security situation assessed, contact Great Valley Lockshop today by calling 610-644-5334 or request a free estimate.