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Most Common Mistakes in Defending Your Home: Vacation Time

It’s summertime—time for fun in the sun and family vacations.  Now that the dreary winter months have passed, you and your family are probably anxious to get out and go camping, to a theme park, or perhaps travel and visit other family members.  A vacation is meant for fun and relaxation, yet nothing ruins a vacation more than coming home only to find out that you’ve been robbed and/or vandalized while you were soaking up some rays and relaxing on the beach.  Although there is no guarantee that your home won’t be intruded upon, there are a lot of safeguards you can put into place to deter would-be intruders.

Safeguard Suggestions

You’ve set your vacation dates and everything’s in order.  The first thing you should do is to go to the post office and put a hold on your mail, and the same goes for your newspaper as well.  Overflowing mailboxes and piles of newspapers are like a calling card to intruders, letting them know that no one is home and appealing to their urges to break in to your vacant home.  Putting a hold on your mail also helps you by preventing others from gathering personal and confidential information from your mail.

Set timers on such things as sprinklers and indoor and outdoor lights.  A dark house, especially at night, or a house with only a porch light that stays on day and night, is a dead giveaway to burglars searching for easy pickings.  At least if your yard is being watered regularly and lights brighten up the inside and outside of the home, you will be giving the appearance that, if someone isn’t home at that moment, they are probably due home soon.

Keep your yard well lit.  Don’t offer any would-be burglars dark and hidden places (such as shrubs, the side of the house, along the fence, etc.) to lurk and sneak around until they find a way into your home unseen.  An extra advantage is that neighbors can keep a better eye out on your property, and even strangers walking or driving by might notice something suspicious and call the proper authorities.

Tell a trusted friend that you will be going on vacation and ask them to stop by and check on your place at different times.  Experienced burglars will case a home, not always fooled by lights and water on timers.  They will be looking for actual human activity, and if a friend is able to stop by at different times of the day, this may deter the burglar from trying to break in to your home.  If your house-sitter comes by at the same time on the same days, the experienced burglar will recognize the pattern and adjust accordingly; this is why it is important that your friend choose different times of the day and/or night to check on your home.

Talk to your neighbors, and let them know that you will be away.  Ask if they mind keeping an eye on your home while you’re gone.  Chances are they won’t mind a bit because not only does this help make sure their neighborhood is as safe as possible, but it also makes them feel comfortable in asking you for the same service when they go away on a trip.

With Internet popularity, especially the social networks, it is imperative that you talk to your spouse and children about the necessity of keeping your vacation plans private.  Children are not the only ones guilty of sharing too much information over internet social medias; many people don’t even realize the potential danger they are putting themselves and their families into at the time.  Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, for example, are perfect breeding grounds for all kinds of criminals who take advantage of those who do not understand the necessity of keeping their privacy.

Users of these social networks oftentimes leave one-line bits of information about themselves, what they are doing, where they are at, or who they are with, and do not realize that this information, in the wrong hands, is very dangerous.  By posting a message in your social media networks that you will be away on vacation, you are broadcasting to who knows how many criminals that your home and all of its worldly possessions will be left free and unattended.  Once they know that you won’t be home, it’s really not that difficult for them to find out where you live, if they don’t already know.  Seriously caution your spouse and children against posting any information about your vacation.

You’ve worked hard for what you have and don’t want to return from vacation only to find that everything you’ve worked so hard for is gone, or destroyed.  Taking the proper safeguards into consideration may just be the thing that deters a would-be intruder from choosing your home to infiltrate.  These safeguards are simple and easy and worth your home’s defense and your family’s security.  Enjoy your vacation!

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