So you’ve booked a vacation and you’re looking forward to it. You pack, you hold the mail, you tidy the house and lock it behind you, and while you’re away enjoying yourselves, thieves have all the time in the world to rob you. It’s a scenario that many vacationers have returned home to.
Homes empty due to vacation are a particular target for thieves, who have ingenious ways of knowing that a home is standing empty. Several years ago, an employee of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines was arrested for running a burglary ring with her husband: thanks to the data on her computer, she had extensive lists of names and addresses of vacationing families and knew when the time was ripe to arrange a break-in.
Sometimes, homeowners are the accomplices of their own break-ins. Posting vacation photos on Facebook, for example, announces to dozens or hundreds of people that a home is empty. Home insurers recommend that vacationing families take a few steps to ensure their house remains secure while they’re away.
Delay your social media posts. While you may think you trust everyone in your social media network, it’s important to realize that vacation photos may also be seen by people you didn’t intend: friends, family, and coworkers of your social media contacts. There’s no more brazen way to announce, “We’re not at home!” Consider waiting to share your vacation photos until after you return.
Make the home seem occupied. Leave a car parked in the driveway or designated parking spot while you’re away and use timers to turn lights on and off in the evening. Install a motion-sensor light outdoors and pause your mail and newspaper service so that they don’t pile up. Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home and report any suspicious activity to police.
Use home monitoring technology. An alarm system is always a good idea, but if it’s out of your price range, consider a technology such as Google Nest Hello which will train a webcam on your home’s entrances and see and record what’s on your doorstep. You can check and see if a package is left while you’re gone and ask a friend to bring it inside.
Put valuables in a safe. If you keep cash, bonds, jewelry, antiques or other items of value in your home, consider investing in a home safe so if thieves do enter the home, your most valuable items are safeguarded.
Ensure you’re properly insured. If you’re a homeowner, make sure your policy has been updated to reflect your home and property value. If you’re a renter, consider taking out a renter’s policy even if your landlord doesn’t require one.
By taking extra steps to protect your home while you’re on vacation, you can relax and enjoy yourself with your family.