Guest post by Tim Krebs, Protect America
With summer on the horizon, temperatures are set to rise and millions of homeowners will flock to their favorite vacation destinations. Whether you’re planning a weekend at the beach, a relaxing day at the lake or a hiking adventure, your home will probably be vacant during that time, and burglars know that summer months are an opportune time to strike.
What can you do to keep your home safe? We’ve compiled some simple tips for burglary prevention. Keep these in mind this summer, whether you’re heading on vacation or just going out for the afternoon.
1. Link Up
You may leave your home during vacation, but who says you can’t stay connected? A little separation anxiety is healthy in this case, so why not know your house’s status no matter where you are? Many modern security systems and home automation devices are interactive and allow you to receive text message notifications in the event of an alarm. Wireless cameras are even viewable from a smartphone in real time. Feel free to check on your home from the pool at your stylish hotel, and then get right back to the important stuff (like your tan). Not only does technology like this create another layer of defense, it actually helps induce the peace of mind that every vacation deserves.
2. Beware the Overshare
Ever “checked in” on Facebook while at an airport or a restaurant in another city? What about updating your status with something like, “Only 10 days until Mexico”? It’s not something to LOL about! While social media keeps us connected in new and exciting ways, it can also pose a threat if used improperly. Don’t become too comfortable and “overshare” the specifics of your schedule – especially if you plan on leaving your house unattended. Remember, burglars are social media users too. There have been documented cases of thieves using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to discover when their victims will be gone. Check and re-check your privacy settings, and don’t share details of your trip until you return.
3. No Plant Fortresses
While you can’t necessarily prevent someone from jumping the fence and trying the back door, you can make the front of your home less appealing and concealing. Large plants and shrubs can grow rapidly during the summer months and create a barrier between your home and the neighborhood, but overdoing it can make a house an attractive target for opportunistic burglars. Make sure windows are visible and not obstructed by bushes or large tree branches.
4. No More Hide and Seek
As fun as it was to play when we were kids, you probably want to avoid this game when safeguarding your home. Hiding a key anywhere around the outside of your house is definitely not advisable since this age old practice is, well, age old. Burglars are known to seek out hidden keys – even in places you might think are clever hiding spots. Instead, give your spare key to a trusted neighbor. Let them know you’ll be on vacation and ask them to keep an eye out for suspicious activity around your home. Offer to do the same for them the next time they leave!
5. Know your Adversary
One key for burglary prevention is understanding why and how criminals break into homes. Rarely do you get to hear it from the burglar’s perspective, which makes the Interview with a Burglar e-book a particularly interesting read. This short visual guide takes information from a study in which more than 400 career burglars were interviewed about their motivations and methods.
About Tim Krebs and Protect America
Tim Krebs is the Corporate Communications Manager for national home security company Protect America. He keeps his finger on the pulse of home safety and is always looking for innovative ways to inform and protect communities. Have a comment or story to share? Continue the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!
Note: This is a guest post; the views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Redfin.