Most home invasions are crimes of opportunity. Burglars watch residences waiting to spot a weakness they can exploit. A house whose owner is on vacation makes a tempting target, but there are ways of protecting your home.
Don’t appear to be on vacation
The first tip to protect your home while you’re on vacation is to avoid tipping off thieves you’re on vacation in the first place.
- In summer, hire someone to mow the lawn. An overgrown yard hints at an owner’s absence.
- In winter, hire someone to shovel your snow. A driveway sitting unshoveled for days and without tire tracks is a sure indication no one is home.
- Don’t let mail pile up. Either have the post office stop delivery, or have a neighbor collect the mail every day.
There’s also the question of interior lighting. Some people leave lights on to suggest people are home, but a light that never turns off is almost as suspicious as lights never turning on. Timers can turn lights off and on at specific times, which is much less noticeable, unless the thief discovers an overly predictable pattern. Now, however, there are phone apps which allow you to remotely turn lights on and off whenever you choose.
Don’t announce your plans on Facebook
The rise of social media has encouraged people to share every aspect of their lives, even when they shouldn’t. Telling people when you’re going on vacation not only announces your house is vulnerable, but it even gives a specific timeline for that vulnerability.
Likewise, refrain from posting pictures and other vacation updates until you get home, as these also make it clear your house is sitting empty.
To say you should lock your doors is obvious, but the gesture is only truly effective of the lock and door are sturdy. Ideally, entryway doors should be at least one inch thick and made of metal. Hardwood is suitable if metal is unavailable. It should include a high-end deadbolt lock, which is more secure than a doorknob latch.
And don’t forget patio doors. Their locks are flimsy and offer little protection against a determined burglar. However, placing a sturdy dowel rod in the track will keep the door from sliding open.
If you normally keep a spare key hidden outside the home, bring it in before going on vacation. Our theft and loss prevention services and our consulting services can also help you identify weak spots on your property and build up better lines of defense.
Invest in a safe and an alarm system
Fireproof safes provide protection against numerous catastrophes, including break-ins. It’s a good idea to store items such as passports in them daily, but when you’re going on vacation, they’re a great place to put other important documents as well as jewelry and other small valuables.
While there are portable fireproof safes, you’ll need one large enough to deter thieves from carrying it off and attempting to crack it later. Even if you don’t own a safe, keep valuables out of sight from someone peering into a window. This is a good practice on an everyday basis, as thieves might be surveying your home even when you’re not on vacation, waiting for an opportunity.
Finally, invest in an alarm system that is connected to a security control centre. GardaWorld operates 5 control centres and a dedicated alarm response line so that mobile patrols and alarm response units protect our clients’ properties 24/7/365. Our innovative GTRACK technology puts patrol reports (including photos and videos) at their fingertips from any connected device – whether they are 20 minutes or 20 hours away from their properties.
Keep the outside lit
Thieves want to be as inconspicuous as possible, and if a target doesn’t offer a concealing environment, they may well move on. To that end, install lights to illuminate the house, particularly entryways. These can be powerful, motion activated lights, or they can be smaller, solar powered lights which switch on when it gets dark.
Nothing can guarantee the safety of your home or your small business. However, a bit of planning and a reliable security provider can make them a whole less attractive to burglars. Contact us to learn more about how GardaWorld can help you protect your assets, it is a responsibility we take seriously.