Prepping for Vacation
What is vacation season for most of us is a busy time of year for burglars. They love to find an unoccupied home, one where they can take their time searching high and low for the good stuff. As you plan your next out of town vacation, take the time to make preparations to keep your home safe while you’re away.
Preparing for Vacation
First, keep your mouth shut about planned trips! Crooks and thieves frequent the same social media sites as you do. They are always searching for posts about upcoming trips and such. Don’t post about your trip until you’re back home. And whatever you do, fight the urge to make your friends jealous by posting pics of you and your family on vacation while you’re still out of town. I know, that can be nearly impossible not to do in this day and age. Recognize the risk of doing so, though.
Talk to a trusted neighbor about having them keep an eye on things while you’re away. Ask them to collect the newspaper every day, feed the fish, and take a walk through the home to check for anything amiss. You might go so far as to ask them to park a vehicle in your driveway so it looks more like someone is home.
You might consider having the post office suspend delivery while you’re gone. Otherwise, ask your neighbor to collect your mail every day. What I’ve found works really well is to give the neighbor one of those canvas shopping bags you see everywhere. They can toss all mail and newspapers right into the bag each day. Personally, I much prefer having my neighbor collect this stuff rather than suspend delivery. This way, I can access everything as soon as I get home, rather than having to visit the post office to grab it.
Timers work great for turning lights on and off in the evening. Consider adding a radio to the mix, too, so as to provide some audio as well as visual evidence that someone is home. Exterior lights are hopefully motion activated. If they aren’t, you might consider installing new lights, not just for your vacation, of course, but because motion sensitive lights are an excellent security tool.
Let the local police department know when you’ll be out of town. They can let the officers in your neighborhood know to keep a closer eye on the area. Be sure to tell them that you’ve arranged to have your neighbor check on things, too, so as to avoid any surprises.
If you are truly concerned about home security while you’re out of town, you could purchase one or more IP cameras. These transmit over a wi-fi system and you can access the footage in real time using a laptop or smartphone.
Plan ahead so your vacation isn’t ruined by what you find when you return home.
When You’re Not Home, Fake It
Thieves and other ne’er do wells love to find homes that are unoccupied and look like they’re going to stay that way for a while. This gives them the luxury of time. They don’t feel they need to rush and can instead go leisurely room by room to find the really good stuff.
Do what you can to avoid clues that you’re away on vacation.
For starters, quit telling the entire free world via Facebook and Twitter that you are so excited to be leaving for ten days in Aruba. All it takes is for one quasi-friend to comment on a post for all THEIR friends to hear about it, one of whom might just see it as a target of opportunity.
Next, make arrangements with a neighbor to collect your mail and newspapers every day. Go so far as to ask them to park a vehicle in your driveway off and on. Depending on the trust level, you might even give them a key and have them check the house from time to time.
Timers are a tried and true method of foiling burglaries. Set them up in a few different rooms to go on and off at staggered intervals. For example, turn on a light in the living room or kitchen at around sundown, then the home office from 8pm-9:30pm, then the bedroom for an hour before lights out.
Finally, this last tip works best in a smaller town rather than a busy urban area but inform the local police when you’ll be out of town and request they increase patrols in the area while you’re gone.
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