Welcome to Part Two in our Travel Security Series: Keeping your home safe while you’re away.
Sadly, this isn’t part of the trip planning process for many people (though it should be). Most either assume their home is “secure” enough, therefore they don’t need to do anything, or they just lock the door and leave, hoping for the best. Either way, here are some tips to better prepare your home to maintain its integrity while you’re away.
- Maintain OPSEC.
Don’t Talk about your impending trip! As exciting as it is, keep the details of your trip on the down-low leading up to it. If you must give details for the purposes of booking vacation time or scheduling, be vague with the times and dates of you absence and also with your itinerary. Instead of saying exactly where you’re going, be vague, like “down south” or “out-of-town for a couple of days”, instead of “I’m going to *** in *** and we leave on *** and return on ***.” This makes it less predictable when your home will be unoccupied.
Establish a monitoring presence.
If possible, enlist the help of a relative or trusted friend to check in on your house while you’re away. Give them a key and have them bring in the mail, turn lights on/off through the house. If you’re lucky they may even agree to put out the garbage and replace the bins when collected. They can also feed your pets, open and close blinds, water your plants and even move your car around. This creates the illusion that the house is occupied and monitored. Just ensure to bring back a nice souvenir for your caretakers from your trip…it’s the least you can do. If you’re unable to secure such a caretaker, put a hold on your mail and scheduled deliveries and arrange to have your yard maintained while you’re away. Maybe even get your windows washed and gutters cleaned all on different days, prepaid. This will, again, deter burglars from targeting your house, especially in the day. If possible, have a trusted friend or family member move in while you’re gone. Sell it to them like a mini-vacation. And of course, you’ll bring them a souvenir. (FYI – there are also other options, such as hiring a house-sitter or even renting out your home through Air BnB or similar sites and maintain the occupancy. This is, however, your choice.)
Plug your table lamps into timers.
Program them to turn on and off at various times and various rooms as if people are moving about in the evenings. They don’t cost a lot but can help a great deal in establishing a more randomized presence. In the same vein, unplug all non-essential electronics to reduce risk of fire and to save on the constant trickle of electricity they use.
- If you haven’t yet,
consider installing both a security system and motion lights
around your home. They will deter people attempting to access your home as well as create a video log of all who approach, day or night. In addition to this, ensure your doors and windows have effective working locks and that they are ALL engaged prior to you leaving. Even the upper floors.
Stash your stuff.
It is common practice for me that prior to a trip out-of-town, I take my valuables to a safe deposit box at a bank. It’s included with my account and always available and secure. So I make use of it. If there’s anything valuable you have in your home that isn’t completely secure (like, in a fireproof vault anchored to your wall and floor) then consider leaving it in a safe deposit box for the duration of your trip. You shouldn’t be travelling with expensive stuff anyways.
As a last thought, you might want to check your smoke detectors and turn down your furnace if needed. Put a dog alarm or a sign for for “beware of dog”. This may add to the overall security picture.
Though this post is not exhaustive of all possible considerations, I hope the above tips will help you in securing your home while you’re away, protecting your possessions and giving you piece of mind.
Stay safe and stay crafty.
***Disclaimer: None of the above information is fool-proof or guaranteed but is the opinion of the author and as such, the Author suggests you use your own judgement when implementing any of the above.***