While you’re planning the ultimate family vacation, a burglar could be planning a break-in once you’re gone. Every year over 2 million homes are burglarized and the summer months are when break-ins are most common. Why? When families are away on vacation there’s no risk of someone being in the home.
Most burglaries happen between 10am and 3pm when homes are more likely to be vacant. The burglar has a much better chance of nabbing high-priced items without being detected. Homes are even more susceptible when they’re left vacant for an extended period.
You may not be able to be there in person, but there are a number of ways you can reduce your risk of a break-in derailing your vacation time. The experts at Black Hat Security shared these tips on how to protect your home during a family vacation.
Set Up a Monitored Alarm System
Home security should be a key part of your vacation safety plan. Without some sort of home security system, all that stands between your home and burglars is the front door and glass windows.
Monitored alarm systems are a step above other options because the alarm isn’t left unanswered if no one’s home. You can choose a system that syncs to a monitoring station that’s manned by professionals or one that you can monitor yourself with an app. There are also systems that combine the two for the most thorough home monitoring possible. With one of these systems, you’ll know the second a motion detector or sensor goes off and the authorities can be alerted.
Put Your Lights on a Timer
Lights are a visual cue that tells burglars if someone is home. If you haven’t invested in smart light bulbs yet a vacation is a good reason to buy a few. Smart bulbs can be put on a timer or controlled via an app. That way you can turn your lights on or off from anywhere and light your house like you normally would.
Consider Having Someone House-sit
When no one is home that’s when the burglars may come knocking. It may be worth it to line up a house sitter who can at least stay overnight so there’s activity. If someone is coming by to take care of your pets this is a great opportunity to see if they want to just housesit instead.
Steer Clear of Social Media Posts
The unfortunate truth is sometimes the criminals are people we know or are friends of friends. All it takes is one mention of your vacation on social media to become a target. Make sure to let everyone in the family know to refrain from making posts about your vacation before and during the trip.
Get a Trusted Neighbor to Watch Your House
While you want to keep your trip under wraps on social media, it’s usually a good idea to let one trusted neighbor know about your upcoming trip. They can help keep an eye on your property and alert you if they see anything suspicious. Just make sure to let them know if anyone is scheduled to come by like a pet sitter, landscaper, etc.
Make Mail Arrangements Ahead of Time
Another thing that tips off burglars that no one’s home is mail that piles up. If you’re going to be gone just a week or two see if a friend, family member or neighbor can periodically pick up your mail. If you plan to be gone more than two weeks, it’s easiest just to ask the post office to put a hold on your mail delivery.
Try to schedule package deliveries so they don’t occur while you’re gone. If this isn’t possible let the person handling your mail know to watch out for it and who will be delivering the package.
Put Up an Alarm Sign
As crazy as it sounds a simple sign can dramatically reduce your chances of a break-in. Research as shown homes with a security system are three times less likely to be burglarized. Most burglarize will bypass homes that prominently display a home security sign in the yard. If your home security provider doesn’t offer a yard sign a generic sign can work just as well.