Nov 19, 2014

Keep the Burglars at Bay While You’re Away

Home security is something most of us don’t even stop to consider – until something bad happens. Funny how your perspective changes after the fact, how you gradually begin to see all the things you’ve been doing wrong and all the little things you could have done to prevent the worst from happening. The point of this article is not to tell you to spend a bagful of money on the most expensive, most advanced security system you can find, but to give you a few practical tips on how to make it seem as if your home is occupied while you’re away, as well as a few safety measures. You can effectively keep burglars away with nothing but a bit of smoke and mirrors (remember “Home Alone”?), or at least know that you’ve done everything in your power to prevent them from invading your property.

You could have guessed from the opening lines that I was speaking from personal experience. A few years back, my then-boyfriend and I just finished a project we were working on for a long time, and decided to depart from some of our hard earned pennies and splurge on a deluxe honeymoon package in Tahiti (we skipped the “getting married” part). It was easily one of the top 5 holidays of my young life, but the magic was ruined as soon as we got back home. My home was invaded.

What hurt even more than the loss of some valuables was the loss of a sense of security I always took for granted. In retrospect, it was so obvious that my home was uninhabited while I was away that the only thing missing was a neon sign saying “burglars welcome”. The next time I left my home for an extended period of time, I made sure to take some precautions. Here are some tips on what you can do to help protect your home while you’re away.

Flickering lights
While having your house lights off for the remainder of your travels is not a good idea, keeping them on at all times is not recommended – mainly because of your electricity bill. Investing a bit of money in a house lighting system that can be programmed to switch on and off at differing intervals can go a long way. Sensor lights will get the job done. If you don’t feel like spending, leave only one or two lights randomly on.

Don’t brag
Feel like sharing your travel plans on Facebook or Twitter? Don’t. Your public profiles are, as their name suggests, public, and people with bad intentions might be paying attention. It is easy to imagine burglars as masked shadows clad in black lurking in the bushes, but they are just as likely to be behind a computer, scouting their next target.

Recruit friends and neighbors
Even though the significance of neighborhood communities has diminished in the modern times, being on good terms with your neighbors can come in handy in certain situations. Ask your neighbors to keep an eye on the house, and recruit trusted friends to house-sit for you, or at least drop by every now and then.

Bad dog
You’d be surprised how effective a “beware of dog” plate can be in discouraging any unwanted guests from trying to trespass. It is almost as effective as a real scary dog. Maybe get a dog as well? That way you will have an extra excuse to bug your friends to visit while you’re away.

Don’t be obvious
Think of all the things that could give away the fact that you’re out of town. Maybe you receive a large volume of mail that could end up piled up at your doorstep? Perhaps you should temporarily cancel any unnecessary subscriptions until you get back. Also, don’t leave your garbage can out on the street. It may look inconspicuous when the entire street is lined with them, but once the garbage men pass through your can will be the only one left on the street.

Mind the key
Do you have a special secret place for your house keys? Maybe you placed it under the door mat? Or under a decorative rock? Or maybe you hide it in a flower pot? Whatever the place may be, don’t leave your keys there for the duration of your stay. Burglars are quite well versed in invading homes even without you helping them.

Double check
Did you lock all the doors to your house? Closed all the windows? Check it one more time, just to stay on the safe side. I know this seems obvious, but obvious is where people most commonly slip.

Now that we got your house security taken care of, proceed with packing and enjoy your travels without worrying about all the stuff you left back home.

Author bio:
Jenny Hahn – writer, traveler, coffee addict, cookie monster, endorser of all things good and admonisher of all things bad (good kind of bad excluded). You can find her on facebook, google+ or twitter.

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