Dec 08, 2017
Before heading out of town this holiday season, make a list (then check it twice) of everything you’re doing to attract burglars to your home. This will serve as your checklist for deterring these unwanted guests while you are gone. Otherwise, your empty house will be the perfect target. Vacations are meant for relaxing, not worrying about residential break-ins!
1) Does your front lawn scream “while the homeowners are away, the burglars will play?”
Fallen leaves haven’t moved, the snow isn’t shoveled, and your mail and newspapers are piling up. These are telltale signs that nobody is home and they scream “come on in” to any burglar, seasoned or first-timers. Not only are you gone, but it appears that nobody is paying attention. To boot, if Santa was good to you and you have trash that screams “expensive” such as big screen television and video game console boxes, it only telegraphs what’s inside your home.
What should you do instead?
Hire a lawn or snow removal service so that someone has to actually walk around your property. Put a hold on your mail and newspapers and reroute your deliveries. Your property will look more “lived in” and burglars are more likely to move on. Lastly, take your boxes to the recycling center or wait until you return home to throw high ticket item trash out on garbage day (to avoid it sitting out too long and being spotted).
Click through to the links below for instructions on how to place holds for all of the major carriers (newspapers vary by provider).
FedEx – Vacation Hold
UPS – Vacation Hold
USPS – Hold Mail Service
2) Does the inside of your house appear vacant?
The outside of your home is the first tip-off for burglars, but even if your front doorstep is clear of piling packages, lack of activity inside may seem suspect. If the lights are always off (or always on), the curtains and blinds are untouched and the pizza delivery menu is still wedged in your storm door then Jiminy Cricket is chirping and the burglars will easily sniff your home out.
How can you fix this problem?
Hiring a house sitter who can turn lights on and off and adjust the blinds will make a big difference. If you rely on light timers (too predictable), try Z-wave lamp modules instead. This technology allows you to set scenes (if only Kevin McCallister had been “Home Alone” with this!) or remotely control your lights via your smartphone anytime and anyplace, which allows for a randomized schedule.
A bonus to hiring a house sitter is having someone to check for burst pipes or other water leaks while you are away. To take that one step further, consider environmental monitoring technology for a 24/7 eye on what could be disastrous incidents in your absence.
3) Have you notified your entire social media network of your travel plans?
Wait to post your airport selfies, check-ins and vacation photos to your social media networks until after you’ve returned home safely! Posting your holiday travel plans to your social media accounts is like sending an open invitation directly to home burglars - no RSVP needed - and the only hostess gift they will leave is a huge mess for you to clean up.
What’s the best way to go about documenting your travels?
4) Is your property lacking visual deterrents such as a “beware of dog” sign or home security system?
It’s probably the oldest trick in the book, but most burglars would rather avoid obstacles and a barking dog ranks high up on that list. A monitored home security system is another surefire way to send the message that burglars are not welcome here. Alarms and security cameras are too risky and most burglars would rather invade a home that doesn’t present any challenges.
What if you don’t have a dog or can’t afford a home security system?
Putting up the signs and investing in a barking machine can help, but a security system is best. There are countless configurations and packages to protect your home at any budget. Request a free quote - no strings attached - and be pleasantly surprised by your options!
Also, Per Mar customers, if your signs are worn or outdated, contact us for additional signage about a week before your departure date!