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Most burglars won’t attempt to break into a home if they think there’s someone present. It’s too risky. So when you travel for work or vacation, it’s the perfect opportunity for them to strike. You don't even have to tell anyone you’ve left. Burglars can spot signs of an empty house.
To avoid coming back to missing valuables, here are some tips on how to keep your home secure when you are away.
Deter, Detect and Delay
You’ve probably heard about the 3D’s of home security — deter, detect and delay. These principles are especially useful when you are away on a trip.
Deterring involves discouraging a potential burglar from attempting to break in. Deterring techniques include having the front door easily visible from the street, lots of outdoor lighting at night, alarm signs, and visible security cameras.
Detection refers to identifying any attacks as they happen. This can help you quickly respond to a burglary and can be useful as evidence after a break-in. Home security cameras and alarms are the best detection tools.
Look for alarms that send an alert to your phone when triggered and WiFi cameras that you can monitor remotely. These days, you can get a complete home security kit that includes cameras and alarms, plus optional professional security monitoring.
Finally, there’s ‘delay’. This involves having strong defenses — a secure door, a high-security lock, making your sliding glass door more secure etc. The goal is to delay a burglar’s entry as long as possible.
Make It Seem Like There’s Someone at Home
Once you’ve covered the basics of home security, the next step is to avoid the appearance of an empty home. In many cases, this is enough to discourage any burglars casing your property.
Smart lights or timed lights — both indoors and outdoors — are great for this. Turn them on in the evening to make it seem like there’s someone home. But don't make it so obvious. Having all room lights blazing all night is suspicious. Turn them off around bedtime, leaving only the outdoor security lights on.
You can also set your TV to come on at random times or get a fake TV simulator to make it seem like the TV is on.
Another idea is to remotely play music through your Alexa or Google smart assistant speaker
Have Someone Watch Your Home
If you have nearby neighbors whom you are on good terms with, ask them to keep an eye on your home when you are away. Ask them to watch out for any suspicious characters hanging around your home.
Alternatively, hire a house sitter to stay in your home for the duration of your trip. That way, you don't have to fake someone being at home.
Keep Your Trip Private Online
No matter how excited you are about your trip, avoid sharing your plans online until after the trip. Burglars have been known to target homes based on information from social media. If they know you are traveling, your home becomes a target.
If you absolutely have to share your plans before your trip, then restrict your social media account only to close friends and family.
- Get a video doorbell so that you can see whoever is at your door. A surprising number of burglars simply walk up to a house and ring the doorbell to check if there’s anyone home. With a video doorbell, you can answer and pretend you are around or at least monitoring your home. Knowing they have been captured on camera is additional deterrence.
- Consider storing your most important valuables like expensive jewelry or family memorabilia in a safe for extra protection in case a burglar breaks in. For even more security, keep them away from your home in a bank safe deposit box.
- Remember to reschedule mail and deliveries until you are back. Packages on your front door can be stolen and indicate that there’s no one home.
- Another handy trick to make it seem like you are home is to leave your car on the driveway. If you are going with your car or prefer not to leave it outside, ask a neighbor or friend to park theirs. You can also rent out your driveway to people who need short term parking through services like Neighbor.com.