Tips to Keep Your Home Safe While Traveling During Spring Break

by Guest Contributor

Many of us will be traveling during Spring Break this year. While we are away, burglars will choose this time to target homes for potential break ins. Here are some tips that you can take to keep that from happening while you are away.

 

Tips to Keep Your Home Safe While Traveling During Spring Break

Keep your traveling under wraps

While you may want to share your exciting travel plans, it’s best to keep that news offline. Posting information about the date and destination of your trip on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter makes you an easy target for potential burglars.

It’s also important to be conscious of your social media activity while you’re gone. Avoid sharing your whereabouts via various location-based social networking websites such as Foursquare or Gowalla. As tempting as it is to share a picture with friends, wait to post photos from your trip until you return home.

Discourage burglars from choosing your home

Burglars prefer to break into homes that are unoccupied, so one way to protect your belongings is to make it appear as though you are home. Set timers on lights, radios and televisions to turn them on during appropriate times. Ask a neighbor you trust to put your trash cans out on trash day and pick up your mail and newspaper. You can also temporarily stop delivery of your mail and newspaper while you are away. Additionally, burglars will take notice of an overgrown lawn and use overgrown hedges as a hiding spot. Make proper arrangements to have your lawn mowed and foliage trimmed if you will be gone for an extended amount of time.

Deny easy access to your belongings

Research shows that burglars usually spend no more than 60 seconds breaking into a home. Using locks on windows and doors is one of the most basic ways to increase the break-in time, which may cause burglars to look elsewhere. It is estimated that nearly one-third of all burglars enter through the front door, so install deadbolt locks for added security. Also consider using motion-sensor lights in the dark areas outside of your home, such as your garage or backyard.

Manage the risk by enlisting help

Inform trusted neighbors, friends and family of your vacation plans and ask them to keep an eye on your property. Tell them how long you will be gone, as well as names and descriptions of anyone who may need access to your house. Always leave a house key and a phone number where you can be reached with a trusted individual. Avoid accidentally triggering your alarm by making sure anyone who will have access to your home knows how to properly operate your alarm system. If you will be taking an extended vacation, consider a house sitter and let your local police know when you will be away.

Protect your home by being able to detect a burglar

Studies also show that homes without security systems are three times more likely to be broken into than homes equipped with a system. By investing in a security system, you’ll add to your protection and peace of mind, whether you’re at home or away. You can find a reputable security company in your area by visiting www.alarm.org, a home security resource for consumers.

Before your vacation, get into the habit of arming your system each time you leave your home. Crime statistics show that homes with security systems are often successfully burglarized because the system was not armed at the time of the burglary.

Keep an eye on your home while you’re away

Smart home technology can be a useful tool for protecting your property while you travel. An enhanced security system complete with surveillance cameras gives you the power to see what’s going on in your home and receive activity alerts straight to your web-enabled device.

What tips do you have to offer that will help keep your home protected while you are away on vacation?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Josh March 25, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Great tips! The only point I would add is that its actually not such a great idea to cancel your newspaper – here’s why: When the newspaper bundles are dropped off for the carrier, a printed out sheet on top of the stack indicates which houses have temporarily canceled their subscriptions – this could be easily scoped by a potential burgler, which defeats all of your efforts to make the home look occupied. A better option is to have the same trusted neighbor who puts out your garbage, also collect your newspapers and mail. Added bonus: you can catch up on what’s happened in your community when you get back!

Speaking of safety, when the kids get back from spring break, check out this app that uses ICBC collision data to help you plan the safest walking route to school that avoids accident prone intersections: http://www.bcbsides.ca/open-data-and-what-it-means-to-bc-part2/
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2 Lauren March 25, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Good tips — many people don’t consider the simplest of safety tips while they are away, like stopping the newspaper and the mail.
Lauren recently posted..What I Am Reading This WeekMy Profile

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