Many may be thinking of traveling this spring or summer and vacation often serves as a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life. When relaxing and recharging away from home, the last thing vacationers want to think about is the safety of their homes and everything inside them. However, the National Council for Home Safety and Security and Statistics Canada estimate that more than two million burglaries occur in the United States and Canada every year. That underscores the importance of protecting your home at all times, including when you’re not there.
• Create the impression that someone is home. Just because you’re heading off for parts unknown doesn’t mean you can’t create the impression that life is carrying on as usual within the walls of your home. Smart home technology now enables homeowners to set timers on lights and even home electronics like televisions and radios. Homeowners also can ask neighbors to pick up their mail or halt delivery until they return from their trips. Nothing says “no one’s home” as definitively as an overflowing mailbox.
• Keep quiet on social media. A Credit Sesame survey of former burglars in the United Kingdom found that 78 percent acknowledged monitoring social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as they try to find homes to burglarize. Individuals about to go on vacation should avoid sharing that on social media.
• Stay silent while you’re away as well. Social media silence should be continued while you’re on vacation as well. No matter how tempting it may be to share photos from an exotic location, such posts could catch the attention of all the wrong people. A recent report from MetLife indicated that 35 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 check in from their locations via social media. That can alert criminals that no one is manning the fort back home.
• Switch from a traditional lock and key to a lockbox. Individuals who travel frequently can take a page from the realtor notebook and switch from a traditional lock and key lock system to a lockbox. Lockboxes require that a code is entered before a box containing a key can be unlocked. Homeowners who want this added measure of protection don’t even need to put a key inside the lockbox, which typically covers a lock, making it extremely difficult for potential thieves to pick the lock.
Before leaving for vacation, individuals can implement various strategies and safety measures to protect their homes and their belongings while they’re away.