Vacation Home Security Tips


by Bryan Dunbar - Date: 2008-05-07 - Word Count: 1140 Share This!

Lock the door and go! That's how we all want to feel when we go on vacation. You can make your vacation more enjoyable by following these simple steps to make you're your home is secure and protected while you are away.

Tips for Outside the Home

Exterior Lighting. Put outdoor lighting on timers, light-sensitive photocell mechanisms, or motion detectors. You want your home to have the "occupied look" in order to deter criminals. All potential entry points such as garage, doors, windows, and basement entry-ways should be illuminated.

Keys and Locks. Don't hide keys in mailboxes, under door mats, or any other place that burglars will know to look. Leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor.

Landscaping. Keep plants trimmed and below the windows and away from doors

Doors. All doors should be locked. This includes the doors leading from the garage to the house and the basement door. Place a dowel the width of the door in the track for all sliding glass doors if you don't have track locks.

Windows. All windows should be secured to include second story windows. Dowels are good here, too.

Grass and Snow. Arrange to have your walkway and drive shoveled and plowed. Have the grass cut while you're away. If your yard and garden are not already on a sprinkler system, set one up with timers. Two weeks in the hottest part of the summer can result in dead plants and a house that is obviously deserted. Hire a reputable lawn service and have everything trimmed and mowed while you're gone. It's a treat to come home and not have to deal with it right away.

Car in the Driveway. Ask one of your neighbors or friends to park a car in your driveway while away. This will give the appearance of someone being home. If it's your car, leave a key with a neighbor and have them move it every few days to make it look like someone is home. Make sure you store the garage door opener in a secure location inside the house; don't leave it in the car.

Store all ladders and tools and lock all storage sheds and the garage. Whoever is watching your home needs to know any services you've hired, such as the lawn service, so they will know who shouldn't be there. Thieves often disguise themselves as service people to blend in.

Home Alarm Security Systems. If you have a home alarm system that comes with yard signs or window stickers, use them! Given a choice, a burglar will go elsewhere. Systems like LaserShield that come with yard signs and stickers make it easy to make your home look secure.

Tips for Inside the Home

Interior Lighting. Use timers to activate inside lighting, radios, or TVs. Make it look like someone is home.

Remove Valuables from Home. If possible, remove valuables from your home and leave with a family member, trusted friend, or neighbor.

Hide the good stuff. Easily sold valuables like electronic equipment and computers should not be visible from uncovered windows. Thieves think in terms of risk to benefit ratios just like any business person. If they can't see something that they can easily convert to cash, they may move on to the next prospect.

Don't forget to set the alarm system. Make sure your caretaker has the code (or in the case of a LaserShield alarm, a wireless keychain remote) and knows how to use it. Rehearse, especially if they are unused to such a system. Also, contact the alarm monitoring company and let them know you are leaving and who has the authority to enter your home in your absence. If you don't already have an alarm system, you can get a LaserShield wireless home alarm system which requires no installation, sets up in a few minutes and costs under $200.00. Now you will have peace of mind.

Secure important papers and valuables. Anything that cannot be easily replaced such as personal, legal, and financial records, expensive jewelry, and family photos should be stored in a secure location. Include blank checks and passports. Back up your computer, and store it with your other records. A fire-proof floor safe in a closet may work or use a safe deposit box. Last but not least, shred anything that contains ID information that won't be secured but which you don't need to retain; a clever crook only needs one set of social security numbers to steal your identity.

Turn off all unnecessary appliances and make sure everything that draws current is unplugged. Turn the hot water heater down to "vacation" setting it will save money and energy too.

Telephone Answering Machine. Set the telephone answering machine so that the rings do not exceed three or four. A telephone ringing for a long time many times through the day and night is an indicator that the home is empty. Do not leave a message indicating you are away on vacation! Alternatively, you can forward land line calls to your cell phone. Just because it rings doesn't mean you need to answer.

Tips to have others help you

Inform a Neighbor. Alert your neighbors or ask a trusted friend to keep an eye on your home. Ask them to keep an eye on your house, collect daily newspapers, collect the mail, and put garbage out on trash pickup days, etc. Nosy neighbors can be the best deterrent to break ins. Provide a spare key for emergencies if appropriate and numbers where you can be reached. Make sure they know how to work the alarm system.

Cancel Deliveries. Cancel newspaper, milk, and mail deliveries if someone is not going to collect these items on a periodic basis.

Crime Prevention and Neighborhood Watch. If your neighborhood has a Neighborhood Watch program, let them know your vacation plans.

Inform Your Local Police Department. Some police departments encourage you to inform them of your vacation plans. They will increase patrols in your area and some will walk around the house looking for anything unusual.

Get a house sitter if you can, especially if you plan to be away two weeks or more. For less than two weeks, a trusted neighbor's responsible teen could be perfect for taking care of pets, watering plants, putting out the garbage bins and bringing them back in, and generally supervising your home. Instead of a kennel, a house sitter may also be willing to care for your pet. Animals generally prefer being in their own territory and your dog can be counted to protect it. Take reasonable precautions to provide for your dog's well being and he will provide an efficient alarm system. (A house sitter may cost less than kenneling your pets.)

Check your insurance policy and make sure it is up to date. If the worst happens, you don't want to wonder if it's going to cover your losses. A copy of your household inventory should be stored with the rest of your important papers.

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Home and business security information is available at www.lasershielddirect.com . LaserShield DIRECT offers LaserShield brand wireless home and business alarm security systems. LaserShield comes with everything you need right out of the box, and can be professionally monitored 24/7. Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

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