Tips to Protect and Lock Up Your Home While on Vacation
You finally made the time to schedule your hard-earned vacation. You’re loving the sounds of the ocean waves, cocktails by the pool, peaceful rest at night, the sound of the New York City traffic, the thrill of sights like the Eifel Tower, and more. Whatever your dream vacation experience is, you want to soak it up and come home feeling relaxed and refreshed. The last thing you desire is to walk into your home after your vacation and find that it’s been burglarized. If that happens, you can say goodbye to relaxed and refreshed and hello to distress and unease.
Unfortunately, per statistics provided by Safeguard Your World, two million homes are reported for home burglary per year in the United States, and close to 66 percent of all burglaries are home break-ins. Further, burglary is the reason for one out of three residential assaults and a home break-in occurs every 13 seconds. These statistics hopefully cause enough concern to help you realize that it’s important to protect your home at all times, and especially while you’re on vacation when it’s more susceptible to home intrusion and burglary.
Lock Up Your Home (Doors & Windows)
Believe it or not, statistics show that nearly one-third of all burglaries occur through an open or unlocked window or door. If you’re going on vacation, be sure to lock your doors and windows before you leave. This is essential regardless of where you live and especially in urban and high traffic areas like Boston. Double check three times if you need to, and make sure your house is fully locked up.
Upgrade to Protect Your Home
Often, homes aren’t protected well enough. For example, rekey your home with a higher grade lock if needed. To increase the security of your home, use a heavy-duty deadbolt, preferably with a one-inch throw bolt, on your door. Also, purchase a door with a peephole that’s wide angled and use a metal or solid core door for entrance points.
Rekey Your Home
Who wants to live in a home when they don’t know who might have a copy to the key? If you recently moved into your home, be sure to rekey all of the entrance doors. Preferably, you did this before you moved in, but if not, then do it as soon as possible. Rekeying helps to protect your home not only while you’re on vacation, but also while you’re home. If you choose not to rekey a new home, then you make it easier for those with a key—such as the home contractors and the former homeowner’s contacts—to break into your home.
Ask Your Neighbors or a Friend to be on the Lookout
While you’re on vacation, ask a friend or neighbor that you trust to drive by your home every two to three days to make sure all looks normal. If they suspect any suspicious activity, request they call 911 as soon as possible.
Get Rid of Your “Hidden” Keys
Many homeowners think they’ve been smart by hiding a spare key in a “hidden” location. However, many thieves get into a home by using these keys, because they’re aware of where the prime hiding spots are. That flower pot or colorful rock isn’t fooling anyone. Remove any spare keys you have hidden outside before you go on vacation.
Rethink Making It Look Like You’re Home
It’s human nature for people to attempt to make it look like their home when they’re going to be gone for a while, like on a vacation. One way they do this by leaving the lights on. However, if you’re lights are on 24/7, then someone who might be staking out your home will notice and think it’s odd (unless this is normal behavior for you, which is touched on in the next paragraph). Not to mention, your electric bill will be higher than it needs to be. Consider purchasing a light that has a timer on it, so you can set it to come on and go off during normal day and evening times.
Also, choose not to make any changes that would indicate a change in behavior or appear odd to those who regularly drive or walk by your home. In other words, if you always leave your curtains open, then don’t close them while you’re gone. Keep them just the way you have them when you’re home. Or, if you always have your backyard light on, then consider leaving it on while you’re gone.
Make a Checklist
It can be helpful to create a vacation lock-up checklist to refer to every time you go on vacation. That way, you can check items off of your list as you complete them to reduce the risk of burglary while you’re away.
When you take the steps provided here, you can relax and enjoy your vacation more easily. Plus, you can maintain that relaxed and refreshed feeling when your home is just as you left it when you went on vacation. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
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