The joy of summer vacations stems from experiencing new places or visiting an old favorite. However, being away from your home for any length of time leaves your house and property vulnerable to break-ins and theft.
We’ve compiled our top tips for protecting your home while you are on vacation.
1. Install a Video Security System
Installing a high-quality security camera system in your home provides a first-line-of-defense against break-ins and theft. Choosing a video security system with the right amount of cameras needed to cover your property, inside and out is essential. Make sure key areas such as your front and back doors, yard, rooms with valuables, and entryways inside of your home have ample surveillance coverage.
It is also important to choose the best security cameras for your application needs. Infrared security cameras (IR cameras) will provide enhanced low light and nighttime surveillance capabilities. An IK10 vandal-resistant dome camera can offer protection against physical impact from vandals.
Hidden cameras provide an additional layer of security, when paired with a video security system. Hidden cameras are disguised inside of enclosures that look like common, everyday objects such as an AC adapter, smoke detector, or flood light, and can be placed around key areas of your home. Hidden cameras are virtually undetectable—so criminals won’t know they are being watched, or be able disconnected or vandalize the cameras to avoid being caught on video.
Your video security system’s camera and recording resolution is also important. You’ll want to choose a video surveillance system with high-resolution cameras and DVR or NVR that records high-resolution video. Detailed video is critical for facial recognition, making a positive identification, and providing indisputable, court-admissible video evidence.
Additionally, a home security system that can be viewed and managed remotely via your cell phone or mobile device can provide additional peace-of-mind while you are away from home.
2. Keep Your Home and Property Well-Lit
Thieves often target homes that are not well-lit. They use the lack of light to their advantage to break into your home, while going unnoticed.
Therefore, it’s critical to keep your home adequately lit. You can accomplish this by installing timers to turn on indoor lights at various intervals, and at various times while you are away.
You can also install motion detection flood lights that turn on whenever motion is detected in your yard. At the very least, install motion activated flood lights in your front and back yard.
3. Hide Your Valuables
Before you embark on your vacation, you’ll want to take a look around your home and make sure your valuables are hidden from view. Remove any expensive electronics such as laptops or tablets away from a clear view from a window. Place valuables such as jewelry, credit cards, rare coins, money, and other assets in a safe, or a safety deposit box while you are away from home.
Other items such as outdoor grills, lawn equipment, and recreational toys (such as dirt bikes and ATVs) should also be hidden from view and locked up.
Place valuables such as jewelry, credit cards, rare coins, money, and other assets in a safe, or a safety deposit box while you are away from home.
4. Lock All Doors and Windows
Locking all doors and windows before you leave is also very important. Many thieves break into your home by entering through an unlocked door or window. Double check all windows and side, back, and front doors are locked securely before you depart for your vacation.
For added security, you can reinforce your patio door by placing a wooden or steel rod in the door track. This will prevent thieves from being able to open the sliding glass patio door if they manage to pry open or unlock the door.
Additionally, you need to make sure your garage door is locked. If you have an automatic garage door, you can unplug the power to it for added protection, because cunning thieves can use a universal remote to open your garage door, if it’s receiving power.
Also, if you leave your car parked in the driveway, make sure the automatic garage door opener isn’t in the car. A thief can break into your car, and use the remote to open your garage door.
5. Hold Your Mail
If you are going to be on vacation for more than a couple of days, you’ll want to let the post office know to hold your mail, or have a trusted neighbor or friend pick up your mail. That way, you won’t have mail piling up in your mailbox, which can tip off thieves that you are not at home.
Also, if you have a daily or weekly newspaper delivery, have a friend or neighbor pick up the newspapers.
6. Unplug Electronics
In order to protect your electronics such as computers, TV’s, gaming systems, and other valuable items while you are away from home, simply unplug them. Unplugging these devices, will prevent any damage occurred while you are away by a potential power surge, power outage, brownout, or rolling blackout.
7. Check Heating and Cooling Systems
Before you leave on vacation, it’s a good idea to check your heating and cooling systems, and hot water heaters to make sure they are functioning optimally, and are not in need of repair. The last thing you need to do is to come home to a flooded home from a hot water heater that gave out, pipes that froze, or an air conditioner that stopped working.
8. Don’t Advertise Your Vacation on Social Media
If you are going on vacation, don’t advertise to the world on social media. Posting that you are on vacation, can alert thieves that you are away, and provide an open invitation for breaking into your home. Also, don’t post vacation photos on your social media page while you are away. Posting your vacation photos on Facebook or Instagram provides another tip-off for criminals that you aren’t at home.
9. Maintain Landscaping
Before you leave on vacation, trim bushes, trees, shrubs, and any other type of landscaping that is near doors and windows, or near any security cameras that you may have installed at your home. This will prevent thieves being able to hide behind overgrown landscaping and enter your home undetected.
Additionally, if you are going to be gone for a while, it’s a good idea to make sure that someone maintains your lawn. An unkempt, overgrown lawn is another tip off for thieves that you are away from home.