Guest Blogger #532, Entry #1204, May 21, 2012
Summer is nearly here, which means that most people are starting to plan their family vacations (if they haven’t booked them already). But with the recession lumbering on you might be a bit worried about rising rates of home robbery. In truth, statistics show that crime in general has decreased over the last few years. But that doesn’t mean you can afford to be lax when it comes to home security, especially while you’re not around to tend the hearth, so to speak. So here are just a few tips to help you ensure that when you return from vacation your house will be just like you left it.
Make a list and check it twice.
Most people are in such a rush to get everything packed and reach the airport on time that the minute they get settled on the plane, they think to themselves, “Did I remember to lock the front door?” You can easily combat this common occurrence by making the first three items on your pre-vacation checklist the following: lock all doors, close and lock all windows, and pull the shades. When you have done these things, check them off your list. Then double check on your way out the front door.
Hold the mail.
Nothing says “we’re not home!” like ten days’ worth of mail crammed into the box or piling up on the doorstep. All you have to do is contact your local USPS branch to let them know the dates you’ll be out of town and they’ll hold your mail for you until you get back, at which time you can claim it. This will help you to avoid one of the most obvious (and overlooked) indications of extended absence.
Image via: Sweep Tight
Zip your lip, especially on Facebook.
You might be tempted to blab to everyone within earshot about your upcoming family vacation to some exotic island getaway, but try to reign yourself in. The more people who know you won’t be home, the bigger the chance of a break-in. And keep in mind that spilling the beans via social networking accounts is probably even worse than simply mentioning to friends and neighbors that you’ll be away. Think about how many of your Facebook “friends” and Twitter followers you actually know. If the answer is not too many, it’s a good indication that you should keep your vacation plans to yourself until you return. Pass this along to your spouse and kids, as well.
Hire a house-sitter.
While you might be able to convince family, friends, and neighbors in the area to check in a couple of times while you’re gone, this might not fool anyone casing the joint. So if you’re really worried, or you have added incentive to hire help because you’d rather leave pets at home than kennel them, pay for someone to watch your house in person.
Image via: Paloma81
Smart-home alarm system.
You can certainly install a system from Alarm Force, Brinks, or any number of companies that will monitor signals from your house and send the authorities in the case of a break-in. But if you want to do more you might think about upgrading to a smart-home system (from companies like Vivint or ADT) that lets you control your alarms, door locks, thermostat, lights, and even electronics from anywhere with your smartphone. No more setting a timer; you can bring your home to life (and put it to bed) randomly to throw off would-be burglars.
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