Please enjoy this guest post from Dylan Snyder about tips on keeping your home safe while on vacation. Dylan is a real estate agent from Florida. I appreciate his contribution to my blog.
While the frequency of home burglaries have declined in recent years, financial losses associated with completed burglaries have increased 54 percent. Thieves target personal items such a clothing, furs, and jewelry as well as electronic devices and cash. Homes that are easily accessible are the most desirable to thieves. While vacation season provides ample opportunity for busy thieves, understanding how thieves work and who they target can enable homeowners to protect themselves.
Eliminate Easy Access
Most burglaries are completed during the day and in under 10 minutes, so quick access is essential. Nearly 30 percent of burglars enter a home through an unlocked window or door. Anything that slows entrance makes a home less appealing to a would-be thief. The following tips will prevent burglaries while the homeowner is on vacation or away at work:
• Sturdy window locks and door deadbolts are the first line of defense against burglaries.
• Upgrade any exterior doors that do not have a deadbolt lock.
• Install security measures that thwart thieves include security cameras, alarm systems, and security doors.
• Lock all windows, even those on the second story.
• Close blinds and drapes, especially on the lower level, as thieves are most likely to target valuables that are in plain sight.
Additionally, having overlapping security systems such as deadbolt locks, security cameras, motion sensitive lights, and alarm systems may qualify the homeowner for insurance discounts. The added bonus of some of these improvements is that they often increase the value of your home and may net you a good return on your initial investment if you ever choose to sell.
Be Savvy With Social Media
Just as our homes and lives are increasingly more high tech, burglars have learned to make good use of technology. Thieves can use public social media posts to determine what a homeowner has, where they live, and how long they are likely to be away. Vacationing homeowners should take extra precautions with social media include the following:
• Do not check into airport lounges or out of town locations on Foursquare and other public platforms as thieves can search these locations for user information and determine who is headed out of town.
• If your social media accounts are public, wait until vacation is over to post pictures of the trip.
While most thieves are in and out quickly, those who believe a homeowner will be gone for an extended period of time are much more likely to spend more time in the home and target items of greater value. Homeowners should utilize additional security measures such as locked safes or off-site lock boxes to protect their most valuable items.
Create the Illusion of an Occupied Home
The reason why most burglaries happen during the day is that is when residents are most likely to be away from home. Homeowners should make sure their home appears lived in while they are away.
• Set interior and exterior lights set to a timer give the illusion that a resident is present.
• Stop mail delivery to prevent unopened mail from filling the mailbox.
• Arrange for lawn care to preserve the homes lived-in look during extended vacations.
• Talk to a trusted neighbor. Ask them to pick up any packages that are delivered, take care of trash cans, and even park in the driveway periodically to send a strong signal that the home is occupied.
When a homeowner understand how thieves work and who is most likely to become a target, they can better protect themselves. Vacations should be stress-free, and following these tips can help keep your mind at ease.