Did you know that potential break-in artists could be waiting to burglarise your home while you are on holiday? And who is going to mow the lawn while you’re away? Who will watch for fires or leaks in the hot-water heating system? An empty house can be a recipe for disaster! An empty house can be an attraction for a thief! You are on holiday but all you think about is your house, how is your pet doing and all the stress can destroy your holiday. How can I protect my home while on vacation?
I don’t want to scare you but if you hate the idea of putting your dog or cat or horse in kennels, or leaving your house/flat empty for a week or a few weeks, you should look for some help with that. I know, sometimes being all excited about preparing and planning for a holiday and spending time on the beach or the mountains it makes us forget about what it’s left behind.
Getting some help and provide your house some security feature will give you some peace of mind. Knowing that someone will look after your house and pet will make you stay relaxed on your holiday. There are some options that you can choose for the security of your house, all you have to do when you are planning your travel, think about your house too. These basic security measures tips will help you to ensure that you won’t return to any unpleasant surprises.
Career Criminals Will Be On The Alert For Things Like
Most of the break-ins are crimes of opportunity. These criminals are the ones that are watching their victims every day, sometimes even for a month. They also are looking in your garbage to find a thing that will help them in their plans. By this, these professional thieves are watching their victims spot any weakness they can then break-in, such as the owners are away on holiday. So what are they looking for when they do watch the victims?
1. If there are some yards with untrimmed hedges and unwatered lawns that is a sight for them that is nobody home.
2. More than a day’s worth of newspaper inside the screen door.
3. Windows that reveal no change in lighting during the night.
4. An absent vehicle in the garage or driveway.
5. Full garbage bins that are not set out on collection day.
6. Mail carries skipping a house because of a redirected mail.
7. Nobody answering the door when they ring the bells.
8. Online posts with the check-ins or post saying that you are away.
9. They are looking for a hide-a-key.
10. Security camera.
A house or apartment left empty with no security on is a tempting target for criminals. It is very important to make sure that you did everything to keep your home safe while you are on your holiday. Imagine you leave the house all excited and then….boom….you start to wonder: did I lock the door? Is the iron on? Did I lock the garage door? Are the curtains on or off? And so on. You start to get started because you just realised that your house is not left in a safe mode. Imagine what kind of holiday you will have.
Secure your house and your pets with these few tips before you are leaving, so you can travel with a peace of mind that you have protected your house.
Option 1 – Use A Monitoring Door Bell
Crafty criminals will often ring the doorbell themselves before attempting a break-in. If you are at home, they will have a reasonable story like: ‘I am conducting a survey of homeowners in the area to see if they are happy with the local school system.’
No thief wants to be caught, and no burglar will want to put more effort than necessary into a robbery. Criminals are by necessity suspicious (and lazy as well). Anything you can do to make your house more challenging is likely to deter them. A good monitoring doorbell is a commendable first step.
A video door bell like Ring Video Doorbell Pro is the perfect choice that will allow you to see, hear and speak with whoever rings your doorbell via your smartphone. As soon as somebody is at the door, you will receive an alert notification on your phone. You do not need to be in the house, in the city or even in the country. You can be anywhere in the world.
Option 2 – Security Cameras
If you do have a security system installed, make sure that they are in a good working state, make sure that you have put them in the best places where you think that someone can get into your property. What I mean by that, check all the back doors, back gates and the weak spots in your fences. You will be amazed by how much work a burglar will do to get into your property without being seen.
If you do not have any security system cameras, you should invest in them, they are absolutely essential for your house and you can say that they are the first line of defence against burglary. There are many options to choose from, just make sure you are buying the best one suited for your home.
Option 3 – Indoor And Outdoor Lighting Devices
It is safe to leave the light on while you are on the vacation? Well, it depends. If you are keeping the light on throughout your entire vacation, that is a sign for the criminals that you are not home and also your energy bill will be higher than you will expect.
Instead, you can purchase for indoor security light a switch timer which will turn your light on and off automatically, after you will programme the switch light schedule. When the criminals are watching your house, they will see lights flipping on and off and they will assume that someone is doing the flipping.
NOVKIT Digital Security Timer Plug
DEWENWILS Indoor Mechanical Timer Socket
Defender 24 Hour Segment Timer Switch
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For the outdoor, you should invest in an outdoor sensor security light. You can install them in front, back door and also around your garage. Some people are installing in the back garden in the darkest places of their property. This motion sensor lights are very useful and will give a sense of a safe house. Most of the models are wither equipped with a motion sensor or they will only come on at night. In this way, you can save some energy.
MEIKEE 10W Outdoor Security Light
MEIKEE 30W 3000Lumens PIR Light
Kaulsoue 100 LED Solar Outdoor Lights
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Option 4 – Home Security Alarm
Also, you should have a home security system. There are many options such as basic DIY system or a more professional one. It is up to you which one to choose.
But, if you do not want to invest in any full security alarm, opt for a fake one.
BW 1100B Outdoor Indoor Fake Dummy Imitation CCTV
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Option 5 – Hire A House Sitter
But is a security system enough? Maybe you should investigate hiring a house-sitter. A house-sitter can help prevent break-ins, and can also monitor for fires, roof leaks, and other potential home emergencies.
The internet is full of helpful sites. An internet search for keywords and phrases similar to the following will help you to locate a good sitter:
* house sitting services
* find a house sitter
* professional house-sitters
* experienced home sitter
* pet sitting service
You are not sure if you should close to curtains or to keep them open? Your first instinct is to close them to keep the people from peeking inside your home. But, then you start to wonder if you close them, how can people who offered to help you will see inside your home – the police, your neighbours, your family and friends. You could keep them open will be the best option if you keep them open during the night. If you are like me, closing the curtains during the night, then this is not a good option. Then maybe you should hire a house-sitter so this will not be a problem for you.
You should stop the order on the mail or the newspaper. A week worth of mail piled up on your steps or inside screen door is a good signal for criminals that you are not home. It is not that easy to stop the mail, maybe you should invest in a locking security mailbox. Or, again, hire a house-sitter.
The house-sitter can take care of your garden so it does not look like is not anybody home. Also, it is a good option to have a car parked in front of your house or on your driveway. In this way, the bins will be out on the collection day and no need to have left a hide-a-key for neighbours or family or friends to go into your house to check if is everything OK.
If you have a pet who does not like to go to a kennel, a house sitter is the best option for them, too. And your pet will be happy staying at home rather than go to a kennel.
There is all kind of job that a house sitter will do to prevent the burglars to get into your house. Because someone is home. And that is the best defence you can have to keep your house safe and your pets happy.
As a homeowner, you can usually post a free ad in a house-sitter directory. Many sites will have an auto e-mail service that notifies you whenever a new house-sitter registers in your community. Home-sitters come from various walks of life – and ages may vary from late teens/the early twenties to ?? Typical sitters might be:
* A world traveller who is trying to conserve on expenses
* A college student trying to make ends meet
* A person who needs a place to stay during home renovations
* Someone new in the community
The best option would be to get hold of a house sitter that was used previously or/and currently used by people you know (friends, family, colleagues). In this way, you have the assurance that the person is genuine, which will give you strong ease of mind. So, try to see if you can find one using the word of mouth method before looking at other options to locate the best house sitter for you.
In recompense for their services, a home sitter will receive free rent and (usually) an additional fee. Sitters are normally responsible for their own food and telephone calls. However, it is always nice to leave a meal out for the first day, or prepare a small basket with some groceries you already have and they could use. In this way, you will save them from being thrown in the bin and also be a nice incentive for a good working relationship.
It is important that all arrangements are in writing. Some of the important points you should include in your written contract include:
* How long the sitter is permitted to be away from the premises
* The maximum number of guests allowed (‘zero’ being an option)
* Expectations for pet, plant, and yard care
* What should happen in case of illness or emergency
* Exact duration of the house-sitting contract
* What will happen if your return home is delayed
Basic Preventive Measures
If you do not want to invest money in protecting your house, then there are some basic preventive measures you can make. They are free, no investments.
Before you are leaving, make sure that all doors and windows are close, including garage doors or back garden. If you have stuff in the garage make sure that all the garage windows are covered. In this way, you stop people to peek in and see what you have there. Also, if you have any automatic garage door or any door in the house, disable it. Thieves can buy a universal opener to get in.
Remove the spare key from that plastic rock or any other place you have. The first thing a criminal will do after he figures it out that you are away is to look for the spare key. But, if you have to leave a spare key it is best to put in a well-hidden secure portable lockbox.
Again, do not tip off criminals on the internet. Just think about it. Who exactly will see my post? There are criminals who are watching on Facebook, as an example, to see which one in their city is away. You will be able to share your photos when you will return. Also, be careful about your voice mail. It is enough for a criminal to hear that you are not able to come to the phone right now. This will tell them that you are away and the house is empty.
If you have some valuable items in your house, it is best to hide them somewhere. If you have some money that you want to spend for the safety of your valuables, buy a small safe which you can hide. If the spending money is not an option, try to find places in the house in which you can hide your valuables.
Also, you must think of the weather for while you are away. For example, you should check if you have anything in the garden that can be blown away if there will be a storm or protect the pipes by insulating them if you are away in winter.
Keep your house clean especially your fridge and kitchen cupboard. You do not want to come back home with a kitchen and fridge full of gone bad food. Clear up everything and wipe down inside your fridge with vinegar to prevent smelling bad.
After you made sure that everything is locked in the house, a good idea will be also to ask a friend, a family member or a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your home while you are away. You can ask them to collect your mail, to keep up regular house maintenance. If you keep normally your garden tidy, asked them to continue once a week with that.
No thief wants to be caught, and no burglar will want to put more effort than necessary into a robbery. Criminals are by necessity suspicious (and lazy as well). Anything you can do to make your house more challenging is likely to deter them. A good security system is a commendable first step.
However, the best thing will be to make all the necessary arrangements so that your house does not look unattended. There are quite a few options mentioned above, options with a fee and others with commitments. Choose the best one for you and your belongings so that you will ensure a free stress holiday.
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Until next time,
Oana & Paula