Keep your home secure on vacation: 7 essential tips

Coming home from your well-earned break can be gloomy. But returning from a memorable journey and learning something has gone seriously wrong at home can be downright devastating.

A house or apartment left empty while its owners are traveling is a tempting target for burglars. It is very important that every traveler takes certain key steps to keep his or her home safe and sound while taking a break. Besides having your alarm monitored by Homesecure, we recommend other basic preventative measures that only take a few minutes to complete and can work wonders to help you avoid home invasions and more.

1) Check your doors and locks

The first step is to make your home more difficult to enter, as a burglar will simply bypass your home if it requires too much time and effort or if it requires more skill and tools than they possess. Most burglars enter via the front, back, or garage doors. Experienced burglars know that the garage door is usually the weakest point of entry followed by the back door. Homesecure recommends using high quality locks.

Would you like to know more about high quality locks? Ask our installers for advice or read the special An Garda Síonchána brochure on door security http://www.garda.ie/Documents/User/CP%20Info%20Sheet%20-%20HS2%20-%20Doors%20-%202015-12-01.pdf

 

2) Ask a neighbour or a friend

A simple, but important, way to gain peace of mind while traveling is to ask a neighbour or friend to keep an eye on your house while you're away. Give this person a key so that he or she can bring your mail in, feed your cat, water your plants, move the bins, etc.

To keep things efficient, there are even websites that have already written the words to put on the thank-you card (that goes with the souvenir) after you return: http://www.thank-you-note-examples-wording-ideas.com/free-thank-you-notes.html

Is there a Neighborhood Watch Scheme (http://www.garda.ie/Controller.aspx?Page=75) set up in your neighborhood? You may want to inform your Street or Area coordinator about your travel plans, so that they can also keep an eye on your house.

3) Share your holiday photos after your holiday

We know it is so tempting to share an exotic meal, a great beach or a magnificent view from a mountain top. Yet, sharing this on social media also communicates that you have left your house. And who exactly is reading your postings? Why not share the images until your home? Your friends will like them just as much.

Do you make a habit of adjusting your voicemail message when you are away? Then please kick that habit. Callers don't need to know that you're not home -- they just need to know that you can't come to the phone right now.

4) Curtains Closed -- or Open?

Recognise the curtains dilemma? What is more obvious to signal that you are away: closed or open curtains?  Expert’s recommendation is to leave your curtains exactly as you usually keep them when you're home. Noticeable changes could hint that you're not around -- especially if your curtains are uncharacteristically left closed for a number of days. Move expensive items, like jewelry or computers, out of plain sight if they're visible from the window.

5) Use light switch timers

Leaving your lights on for 24 hours per day while your away is expensive. Plus, a fully lighted home at 3:00 am might be a bit strange.

Homesecure’s zerowire gives you the option of controlling lights direct from your smart phone. Program the light switch at a time interval that matches your normal behaviour. Criminals keeping an eye on your house will notice lights flipping on and off at the usual times, and will probably assume someone is doing the flipping.

6) Put your newspaper and mail on hold

Papers piled on your front step or behind your front door could alert burglars that you are away. You could ask your neighbour or friend to check on your mail every now and then, but it is just as easy to activate holiday services online. Anpost also offers a MailMinder service to keep your mail safe while you are away: http://www.anpost.ie/anpost/maincontent/customer+service/find+a+service+to+suit+you/wizards/manage+my+mail/mailminder

7) Remove Your Spare Key

If a burglar figures out you're away, it's likely that he or she will check for a spare key. So reach under the mat, under the stone or into the flower pot and remove your spare key before you leave on your vacation. If you do want to leave a key around your house, then you could consider mounting a key safe to your house. This is a small safe that stores your keys. The safe can be opened with a personalized code. After that the keys can be taken out and placed back after use.

 

If you have more questions or if you would like to double check whether your house is ready for your Mediterranean beach retreat, then check out the security list set up by An Garda Síonchána:

http://www.garda.ie/Documents/User/CP%20Info%20Sheet%20-%20HS1%20-%20Checklist%20Challenge-2015-05-04.pdf