You might have heard stories about people who have returned from vacation only to find that their house had been burglarized. Some have even returned home to find only charred remains because a spark had set the house on fire while they were away.
Don’t let the excitement of a well-deserved long vacation make you oblivious to the possibility that something could go wrong while you’re gone. Take some time to implement security protocols at home before you leave.
Here are some ways to safeguard your house while you’re gone on vacation so you can have some peace of mind and enjoy your time away.
The simplest and most practical tip of all is to ask someone to look after your home in your absence. That someone could be a family member, friend, or neighbor. If you have asked more than one person to watch your home, be sure to tell them about each other.
Ask them to drive your home once a day. Provide them with a set of house keys so they can pick up your mail or water the plants. If you’re leaving your car, tell them where you’ve left the keys so they can move them if needed. Always share your contact information so they can reach you in case of an emergency.
It’s hard to resist the temptation of keeping an upcoming vacation a secret from family and friends, but doing so could be in your best interest. Avoid posting information like your departure date or vacation destination on social media.
You don’t know who is reading your post, and it could appear in someone’s news feed who has a knack for breaking into empty houses. If you haven’t set your social media privacy settings so that only friends and family can view your posting activity, it’s a good idea to refrain from posting your vacation pictures online while you’re gone. You can always post your pictures once you have returned home.
Don’t cancel regular home services like lawn maintenance or garbage collection. By keeping the services going, it will create the appearance that the house is still occupied. Also, it will help deter unsavory characters from coming around while you’re gone.
There isn’t any need to inform law enforcement if you are only going to be gone for a weekend, but if you plan to stay longer, it is a good idea to inform the police. That way it’s on their radar in the event any calls come in about suspicious individuals. It could also help ensure they include regular drivebys of law enforcement while you’re away. Also, be sure to notify police of any designated housekeepers who may be on the premises during their patrol–doing. So will help police know not to be alarmed should they find this person at your house while you’re gone.
Always set your home’s security system when you leave your house, especially if you plan to be gone for a long period of time. Consider installing surveillance cameras that work along with your security system. So that you can check on the activity around and inside your house in real-time at any moment. Most include an app that you can download to your smartphone or another device that will allow you to check-in remotely. Having cameras installed isn’t cheap, but it would definitely contribute to your peace of mind.
Put smaller items in a home safe and secure bigger items in the safest room of your home. That way, if anyone breaks into the house, you can have some comfort that your most valuable things will be harder to find.
If you don’t have anyone who can watch your house while you’re on vacation, consider hiring security personnel. There are dozens of companies that offer security services and will take full responsibility if your house is burglarized.
Other than home break-ins, another common incident that can occur while you’re away on vacation is an electrical fire. Fire due to an electric spark accounts for nearly 13% of the total fire incidents in the US. Therefore, it’s a good idea to unplug computers, lamps, coffee makers, and TV before you leave the house for an extended period of time. Doing so not only reduces the risk of fire but also saves you money on the electric bill.
An overflowing mailbox or a pile of newspapers lying outside is a sure sign that nobody is at home. If you don’t have anyone you can ask to pick up your mail or newspaper. Ask your newspaper vendor and mail carrier not to deliver your newspaper for the period of time you’ll be gone on vacation.
Take a good look at your house’s exterior and interior when you return home from vacation. Look for signs of a break-in and make sure no items are missing. If you notice anything out of place, inform the police immediately. Likewise, don’t enter your house if you notice signs that someone has forced entry into your house. Contact law enforcement immediately.