Did you know that showing your support on the outside of your home for a non-local sports team signals to thieves that you are more likely to go out of town for holidays? No, you probably didn't. In fact, there are a number of things you could be doing to entice clever thieves. Give yourself peace of mind and prevent burglars while you’re on vacation with these nine tips.
1. Plant Natural Barriers
Use plants and shrubbery to make it harder for privacy to be invaded. Keeping plants around your house and first-floor windows will keep thieves from being able to scope out what's going on. Plus, it gives them an extra component to conquer in order to break in. (Of course, this can be tricky because you also want to ensure you are not creating a hiding place for crooks.)
Bonus tip: Having plants with thorns can help deter thieves, as it is not as easy to get in and out of a window with a thorny rose bush under it.
2. Keep the Lights on
Waiting to see if the lights go on is one of the easiest ways to tell if anyone is home or not. You can purchase adapters to plug lamps into, or light switches, that will automatically turn your lights on and off on a timer.
Bonus tip: The best ones can be programmed to go on randomly, rather than on a timer, which gives a more realistic impression of someone being home. There are also devices that can be controlled remotely if you have a smart system in place.
For the exterior, install lights with motion sensors to prevent burglars while you’re away on vacation.
3. Hold Deliveries
Newspapers piling up and an overflowing mailbox show that nobody has been home to collect. Suspend any subscription services and place a hold request with your local post office. You can also setup requests with other companies, such as UPS, if you are expecting other packages as well.
4. Don’t Advertise
This has multiple applications. First, Many people post that they will be out of town on their social media accounts, broadcasting that their houses will be empty, which is not the way to prevent burglars when you’re away on vacation. Criminals use social media, too.
Second, getting a new car or a new 55” television is exciting. People want to showcase their new toys and show their friends, so they post pictures on social media. After the new products are opened, the boxes are discarded on the curb for trash day where everyone can see. If you have to leave the box by the curb, break it down so others won’t know what is in your home. Knowing there are valuables inside or that you have a lot of money will make your home much more enticing target to thieves.
5. Know Your Neighbor
Make friends with your neighbors; get to know their names, the types of cars they drive, and their dogs. Knowing these things will help you notice if something is out of the ordinary and potentially prevent burglars while you’re away on vacation. An unfamiliar car or person walking a strange dog could be a criminal casing the neighborhood.
Another benefit is that they can look in on your house, check the mail, water the plants, and alert you and the authorities if anything suspicious happens. They can also hold onto your spare key, which is a safer alternative to keeping it under the mat.
6. Alarm System
An alarm system will protect your home 24/7. Alarm systems are more advance nowadays, giving you the option to arm and disarm them remotely. This can be comforting to ensure that it was set before you left, or if you needed to let a neighbor in. Many systems come with wireless monitoring, allowing you to ensure everything is in order while you and your family enjoy a lovely trip.
While a security system can help give you peace of mind, sometimes just the appearance of one can deter criminals. Putting a security system sign in your yard and some dummy cameras up can aid in preventing burglars while you’re away on vacation.
7. Check The Locks
It may seem obvious, but be sure to double check that you locked all of the doors, windows, and the garage. Ensure that your current locks can’t be unlocked with a bump key, a device used by criminals that can open most locks. You should have durable locks such as deadbolts on the doors, too.
On a similar note, the glass on your windows and doors should be strong, so they can’t easily be broken. The doors themselves should also be resilient.
8. Be Aware
Be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary to vigilantly prevent burglars while you’re away on vacation. This could be a strange car that has been circling the block, or the guy you have never seen before walking his dog for three hours.
This also includes solicitors. There is a kernel of truth in many movies, and “Home Alone” is no different. Thieves will don disguises to find out information about when you will not be home, the layout of your residence, and what valuables you have inside (just like Marv and Harry did in "Home Alone").
9. Keep Up Appearances
If you normally park your car in the driveway and it is not there for a few days, it will not be hard to figure out that you are probably not home. The idea is to keep things looking as normal possible. Obviously you want to secure valuables, but anything else you can do to keep others from suspecting you might not be home. Some things to consider will be keeping up with landscaping and other seasonal chores, such as shoveling in the winter.
Some ways to prevent burglars while you’re on vacation may seem obvious, but often those are the things that can be overlooked. Hopefully, these tips will keep your property safe, give you peace of mind, and give you the peace of mind to enjoy your adventure.