Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, away from home we go! And more heigh-ho…
Sounds nostalgic (though not the exact line)? Remember the seven dwarfs whose house got an uninvited guest while they were away due to lack of locks and home security?
And speaking of nostalgia, visiting their hometown is on people’s checklist as the last quarter unfolds. Family gatherings are highly anticipated. Turkeys to be savored on Thanksgiving. Gifts to be unwrapped on Christmas. And fireworks to light up the sky on New Year’s Eve. The most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner, indeed.
Are you excited? I bet you are!
But not so fast.
Because if you’re not careful, you might return from vacation to a home half-empty (or half-full if you’re an optimist).
You don’t think so?
Well, I hate to break it to you but according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s 2019 report, ±6,925,677 property crime offenses occurred in the US that year. That’s about 2,109 per 100,000 inhabitants and a staggering 790 incidents every day! And what’s worse? It’s estimated that $15.8 billion have been lost.
Are you with me now?
I know Christmas is a time of giving but you’re not the Santa Claus of criminals, are you?
So, stay with me because you’ll discover the simple yet proven effective ways to keep your home safe while you’re away. From thinking like a burglar to using home safes/gun safes.
We’ll divide them into 3 sections to make it easier for you to follow and serve as your home security checklist⸺deterring intruders,concealing your absence, and utilizing technology and insurance.
Let’s step into the door of a still full house.
Deterring burglars and the benefit of home safes
Do you know the best security measure? One word…prevention.
That’s right. If you can discourage would-be intruders from targeting your home in the first place, your probability of getting broken into goes down to zero.
Think like a burglar
Go around your home property and look for ways you can break in. Find security loopholes, possible ingress timing, and anything that could be used as leverage like a garden ladder or an overgrown branch leading to your attic.
In other words, see through the burglars’ eyes and mimic their footsteps⸺ you’ll be surprised by how vulnerable your home property actually is. Fix and adjust.
Pro tip: Never leave spare keys outdoors like under the doormat or that cactus pot. Unfortunately, those in the FBI’s report did.
Build a healthy neighborhood
Be on good terms with your neighbors and kindly ask them to watch your home while you’re gone. Believe it or not, nosey neighbors make would-be intruders uncomfortable and will ward them off.
To top it off, form or join a neighborhood watch committee ⸺ an organized group of civilians devoted to crime and even vandalism prevention within the local community. As they say, “United we stand, divided we fall.”
Lock all doors and windows
When doing so, don’t just focus on your house’s entry points. If you have a garden shed, outdoor tool storage cabinet, or a secret underground tunnel (hello apocalypse peeps), make sure to lock them up as well.
Pro tip: Install laminated window glasses to make it crack but not shatter in case of a forced break-in. Furthermore, reinforce your doors with steel frames and use pick-resistant locks.
Secure your garage door
If you have an automatic garage door, disable the electronic lock and manually lock it from the inside before you leave. This is to prevent burglars from using a decoder or universal remote to open your garage and enter the house from there. And as for a manual door, secure it with a clamp or strong padlock.
Put up a sign/s from a security company
Installing a home security system is one of the best investments you can make. And when you do, putting up a highly visible sign will make burglars think twice about messing with your fortress.
Worried you might give burglars an idea about your security company and how to defeat it? Then use a sign from a different security company to circumvent such risk.
Don’t rely on dogs or the “Beware of Dog” sign alone
Sounds counter-intuitive but let me explain.
First, it lets the bad guys know that a dog is roaming around freely. Meaning? No active motion sensor alarms. Because if there are, the dog would have triggered them already. “If the dog can roam freely, so can I,” reckons the burglar.
Second, unless it’s trained like a K9, dogs can be tamed and will play fetch.
Keep your valuables out of sight
Nothing to see, nothing to steal. Thus, before you ride, make sure your crystal piano inside or that mammoth’s hide is out of sight of Bonnie and Clyde. (Say hi to rhyme)
And though it may be a good idea to completely close the blinds or curtains, it doesn’t outsmart the bad guys. How so? More on that later underconcealing your absence.
Use a home safe or gun safe
When all outdoor security measures fail and the burglar is as persistent as hell, then it’s time for your trump card⸺ a home safe, or gun safe.
Before leaving your home, lock up all your valuables in a top-security home safe and your guns along with the silver bullets in the gun safe. Through such, you’re killing not just two but four flies with one slap⸺ dust, fire, water, and burglar.
How useful is that?
- Always mount safes to a strong wall or column. Bigger safes should be bolted to the concrete ground. Why? Because burglars can carry away a safe but not an entire wall or floor.
- Toss your important items into a waterproof container of your choosing. And consider making copies of your important documents and store them on a memory stick (thumb drive), and place it in an alternate location from the original copies.
Concealing your absence
Make it look like you’re home when, in fact, you’re not.
The Art of Warby Sun Tzu, anyone?
Unless it’s a home invasion, no burglar is stupid enough to break into a house when the owner is in. They want no witnesses. Plus, they don’t know if the homeowner is as deadly as Chuck Norris.
You see, criminals don’t like risks. So, do the following:
Put your mail and newspaper on hold
Before you vacation, request your mail and newspaper to be temporarily suspended. And if you’re a snowbird, set up a mail forwarding address or ask someone else to regularly pick them up for you.
Ask neighbors to maintain your yard
Untended yard or driveway full of snow are sure giveaways that the homeowner is away. And when you ask the neighbor’s kid to do the job, let’s be generous and pay them for their time and effort, shall we?
Build healthy relationships and return the favor next time.
Leave your window coverings as they are
If would-be intruders have been scouting your area for some time, they’re already familiar with your routine. Hence, if you typically leave your curtains or blinds open, leave one or two as is.
That’s because you don’t want them to notice sudden changes like curtains pulled shut for weeks when they are usually open. This is a tell-tale sign that nobody’s home. Again, just make sure your valuables are not visible from the outside.
Have someone to stay or check in periodically
Don’t want to leave your window covers open for privacy reasons? Then have a friend stay over at your house now and then. But if all of you are vacationing, consider hiring a house sitter.
This way, you’ll have someone not just occupying the house but also looking out for leaks and fire. Just make sure you do a background check and hire from a trustworthy company.
Don’t publicize that you’ll be away from home
Many just can’t wait to impress the world with their vacation. Big mistake.
Never indicate on your voicemail, autoreply, or social media your vacation⸺ where, when, and for how long.
Mind you, online stalking has never been easier (I don’t think you even know and trust all your followers, do you?). Not to mention burglars are getting more and more creative. If social media is your journal and lifeblood, then don’t post in real-time. Do it upon returning from vacation or as a throwback instead.
Fake them out
Looks can be deceiving (like the photos on Tinder). So, why not use that to your advantage?
Keeping indoor lights on for weeks or months can put a hole in your bank. The solution? Use a TV LED simulator. It mimics the scene and color changes of a real TV scene with a programmable timer. From the outside, it will appear as if somebody’s home watching their favorite sport or talk show.
Utilize technology and insurance
Now, let’s take home security one step further.
Thanks to technology, monitoring your home and deterring burglars even from thousands of miles away is now possible. What’s more? You don’t have to be tech-savvy to use them. That said, here are the best ones worth having:
Smart security lights
If you can screw in a light bulb, you can install a smart light. Some can be remotely triggered from your smartphone while some can be scheduled at specific times such as at sunrise or sunset.
Not only that. Smart lights can also be connected to other devices like motion sensors which will turn on when someone approaches your home. Cool!
Smart lock in your door
This allows you to lock/unlock your door remotely from your smartphone. With a smart lock door, you can even grant temporary access codes. This is so you can terminate access once the house sitter or visiting neighbor has left.
It’s easy to install and has a built-in camera, microphone, and speaker. With this, you can answer your doorbell in real-time even from afar through an app on your phone or tablet. And in case you’re out in the wild without signal, video logs are saved for you to watch later on.
FireFighter smoke detector alarm system
Smoke detectors have been saving lives for decades. But what happens when no one is around to hear the alarm and deal with the fire?
That’s where the FireFighter alarm system comes in. Once it detects an alarm from a UL smoke detector, it immediately notifies the monitoring station and authorities. Surely, you don’t want to return from a wonderful vacation homeless, do you?
DIY Home Video Surveillance Cameras
Short on a budget but want to keep an eye on your home from miles away? A DIY home security system is to the rescue. They’re wireless (no more unknotting maddening knots), have cloud storage, and even offer professional monitoring. And when it comes to the installation, a screwdriver is all you need.
Pro tip: Always check the batteries of all home security devices. Replace if needed. No matter how high-tech or durable, they’re useless without power. Even solar-powered devices have batteries and sunlight isn’t always there.
Take advantage of home insurance
Insurance is always good to have but at the same time, hope you’ll never need.
It can cover losses and damages to your home and belongings. It can offer some coverage for furnishings. It can even protect your assets if you’re liable for other people’s property damage. Contact an insurance agent for details, we just know it's a good idea to explore your home insurance coverage options.
Pro tips: Never assume. Always confirm both policy inclusions and exclusions.
- Don’t settle for less and take time to research and shop around.
- Never sign up for something you don’t fully understand.
Vacation without losing possession
Whether you’re hitting the vacation road, country roads, or leaving on a jet plane for paradise city, Africa, or sweet home Alabama… don’t worry, be happy (listen to classics sometimes, Gen Z).
And no worries indeed. That’s because you’re now confident your home can take care of its own, or at least in good hands, while you’re away for the holidays.
Time to enjoy your vacation without criminals vacationing at your empty home.
The question now is… what’s cooking this Thanksgiving?
Need help finding the safe that best fits your needs? Reach out to our safe professionals by chat, phone at 800-207-2259 or email us at email@example.com.
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