The holidays are a time for families to get together and celebrate the most joyous season of all. Unfortunately, burglars see opportunity to target the homes of unsuspecting vacationers. While most people enjoy handing out gifts to loved ones, criminals enjoy taking precious items from homes that can be an easy sell.
1. Secure their mail
A mailbox full of letters and newspapers is a clear sign to criminals that they’re not home. This gives burglars ample opportunity to not only target a property, but also target a homeowner’s identity by using mail to gain access to personal information. Before the homeowner travels, they should request a vacation hold on mail and newspapers, or ask a trusted relative or friend to collect it for them.
2. Let trusted people know they’re away
When going on vacation, it’s good for homeowners to let trusted people know: friends, neighbors, and their home security company. If possible, they should give a spare key to a friend (don’t leave it in a hiding place) along with contact details of their home security company.
3. Stay away from social media
Today’s criminals are forward thinking, happily checking social media to see if anyone is broadcasting about a trip away. Homeowners should keep all accounts private and do not give away any clues that indicate they won’t be home for an extended period of time. If they have any photos that they wish to upload, it can wait until they’re back home.
4. Install motion-detecting lighting
Burglars don’t like to be spotted, and a bright light in their face often is enough to send them hightailing out of there. Motion sensors installed around the exterior of the property, especially around out-of-sight entry points, can be a strong deterrent.
5. Vague answering machine message
It’s common for families to leave callers a nice descriptive answering machine message detailing where they’re going and how long they’ll be gone. Phoning a home to see if anyone answers is a classic way for burglars to check if anyone is home. They love to know that they have plenty of time to break into a property. The default automated computerized message will do just fine.
6. Embrace remote home management
Home security has advanced greatly in recent years, and with interactive services, complete home security rests in the palm of the homeowner’s hand. They can use their smartphone to arm their system and remotely manage their home. So even though they’re not physically home, they’re definitely there in spirit.