Few things can ruin your vacation like getting an emergency call telling you that your home has been broken into while you are away. No doubt there are plenty of measures you can take to secure your home and belongings while on vacation, but home security threats and technology are constantly evolving.
Alternate Your Interior Lights
It’s true that leaving your lights on makes it look like someone is home, but the effect does not last- especially if you leave the same lights on the whole time and don’t alternate them. If criminals see the same lights on day after day, night after night and no human activity that tells them no one is home – they will not be fooled. Also, just leaving lights on the entire time you’re gone can run up your electricity bill.
Using electronic timers can solve most of these problems, but even these devices will not deter burglars who take the time to observe your home for several nights. Professional criminals will quickly discover your little ruse.
One good answer to this problem is Caséta. This system Schedules lights to turn on and off at varied intervals. It does this in a randomized way that appears naturalistic, leaving a given light on for an hour or so, while switching one on and off over a period of just a few minutes, for example. This creates an effect that is difficult to know for certain whether it is being done via some technological means. But of course, some criminals will be aware of this technology and may probe further. This means that using a light varying system is good, but it isn’t enough.
Place a Hold on Your Mail
Mail theft is on the rise, as is identity theft. The US Postal Service says “Mail theft and mail-based identity fraud is on the rise. These criminals intend to gain access to the financial information of their victims and exploit this information for personal gain.”
Some vacationers ask their neighbors to retrieve their mail while they are away, and this helps but what if they don’t get to your mail before criminals do? The last thing you want is thieves establishing a line of credit in your name while you are tanning on the beach in San Diego.
Hire a Qualified Dog Sitter
You may have all of your bases covered when you pack up to leave, but if you take your cherished doggo with you, you’re depriving yourself of one great security feature – a barking dog! Two great dog sitting services you might check with are Next door and Rover.
These professional services will locate a qualified sitter for your dog who will take care of the animal and check your house for less than the cost of boarding.
Mind Your Pet Doors
If you do choose to take your dogs with you or board them, you will want to secure any doggy doors you may have. You may think no one could exploit these tiny entrances but especially limber criminals and those with a little bit of ingenuity can find a way to use your doggy door to gain access to your home. It really doesn’t take much to make a makeshift stick that has a rubberized grabbing mechanism on the end of it that can reach up, around, and unlock a door. You can place a locking mechanism over your pet door if it doesn’t already have one. These are available at many home hardware stores.
Lock the Gates
They may seem like a superficial barrier, but a fence that has to be broken or scaled to get through can mean the difference between alerting the neighbors or allowing unfettered entry to your yard. If your neighbors know you are away and they see someone jump your fence, they would be alerted to the danger for certain.
Invest in a Security Camera
A lot of people assume that just because a crime scene has been filmed it will not deter a criminal. However, catching a burglar on video can mean the difference between recovering stolen belongings and losing them forever. Also, many of today’s modern security cameras come with apps that work on your smartphone to view your property in real time, allowing you time to alert the authorities or contact your security provider.