Summer Vacation Home Security Tips: Learn From a Victim’s Mistakes
Summer vacation. The chance for the typical suburban American family to break away from the monotony of everyday life and experience some quality “R&R” time.
While kids and parents alike both look forward to the vacation, there is another person also greatly looking forward to your vacation too – the burglar who may be targeting your home. Certain habits can easily tip off burglars to an empty nest, and it’s important for homeowners to be informed about the proper steps to securing a home before going on a summer break vacation. Not only does one have to prepare the physical home before a vacation, homeowners of today need to prepare all the family members’ social media profiles too. It’s essential to leave no trace of any information online that could let a burglar know you will be gone. Below, we have compiled some tips gleaned from other’s unfortunate mistakes, along with some observations about vacation social media habits and how they relate to home security.
Don’t Advertise Your Absence
People tend to get very excited about vacations! Sometimes they just can’t help talking about them. Whether it’s in mixed company at a sporting event or in the store when you run into a friend, try not to advertise your absence from the home. A seemingly innocuous comment can lead to a lot of damage when overheard by the wrong person.
That’s all people used to have to worry about, word-of-mouth spreading, however nowadays social media brings an entirely different element to this problem. It would be smart to sit down with your family and explain the dangers of posting online about an upcoming vacation. It’s very common to see a “vacation countdown” tweet:
Or a “Throwback Thursday” Instagram post with a mention of how the family vacation is coming around once again. While it’s an exciting time for any family, everyone should be aware that expressing excitement about a vacation online can lead to devastation upon arrival back home.
ABC 7 News in San Francisco interviewed a burglary victim who was targeted because of a social media post. “You gotta be careful,” burglary victim Lavern Cheatheam told ABC 7 News. “You think posting and checking in wherever you go is fun, but you are actually letting people know – hey I am gone. Go over there and take what you want.”
Cheatheam’s home was ransacked after a family member (her daughter) posted their family’s Las Vegas vacation pictures on her Facebook page while the family was still away on vacation, according to ABC 7 News. This leads us to our next set of points.
Follow These Vacation Social Media Tips
These days everyone wants to let the world know what they are doing. While refraining from that can make one feel left out, it’s the smart move. It’s not that you shouldn’t post about a vacation at all… it’s about knowing the proper way of doing so. As we highlighted before, never post about an upcoming vacation before the trip. However, it may be more important to refrain from posting on social media during a vacation. As Lauren Cheatheam’s situation shows, posting to Facebook or any social media platform while away is basically an open invitation to burglars. Posting pictures of the vacation for friends and family to see is great, but while it may be hard to do so, wait until you arrive back home to put them online.
Experts recommend checking the privacy settings and location services on your phone. If you want to tweet about your favorite sports team from the beach, just make sure your tweet doesn’t say where you’re tweeting from. If you live in New Jersey, but are seen tweeting from Florida, even that can tip off a burglar.
Never “check in” on Facebook or Foursquare from an airport or hotel. This obviously alerts people to the fact that you are not home. This tip can be applied to everyday life as well. If, for example, a stay-at-home mom were to “check in” at a local restaurant when the kids are at school and the father is away at work, a burglar could recognize the opportunity and strike.
Practical Robbery Prevention Tips For Vacations
A tell-tale sign of vacancy is overgrown grass, so, either hire a neighborhood kid to mow the lawn while you’re gone, or pay a local lawncare service to do so. Also, be sure to stop your mail and newspapers so that there is not a buildup in the mailbox, this could draw a burglar’s attention. If you are expecting a package to be delivered while you are gone, ask a friend to pick it up for you so it doesn’t sit at the door all day acting as an invitation to burglars. Also, ask the same friend to remove any unsolicited flyers that can pile up in mailboxes and on driveways.
Never leave an extra key under the rug or in a hiding spot while you are gone. Don’t leave extremely valuable items in plain sight of a front window. And finally, ask a friend to take out the trash for you on the proper day if necessary.
Last, But Not Least, Invest In A Home Security System
Having the ability to remotely check in on a property while on vacation can be invaluable. Home security systems like those offered by Supreme Security Systems can remotely alert a homeowner when a break in occurs via smartphone. With motion detection, perimeter protection, glass break detection, and multi-area arming, professional home security companies can save a homeowner from serious loss. With a professional home security system in place, a homeowner can check on his or her house from the beach, and the peace of mind that comes along with that only increases the quality of any vacation.