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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

5 Expert Tips For Better Vacation Home Security

by Ralph December 6, 2021

Vacation home security is significantly different from basic home security. Your reliable absence from the property creates specific security concerns. Unoccupied homes are more likely to be targeted by burglars. And if the home is rented, this also creates new threats.

To improve your vacation home security, you need to know about:

  1. Risk Assessment
  2. Maintenance
  3. Detection
  4. Documentation
  5. Securing Vulnerabilities

FAQs

How do I keep my vacation home secure when I’m not there?

Protecting an unattended property starts with perimeter security. You want to create a barrier that obscures the visibility of the home so it is not seen as unoccupied. These barriers should also act as vacation home security through the use of locks, cameras, lights, etc.

What is the best way to protect a vacation rental property?

You offset the risk of giving a stranger temporary access to your property by getting their credit card information and ID. To avoid the uncomfortable position of installing indoor security cameras, you can document the state of the property before and after your guests.

What are the main security risks for a vacation rental property?

Even with honest renters, there is still the risk of property sustaining unintentional damage. In rare instances, the home may be cased, so it can be burglarized later. Make sure to document the state of your property before guests arrive and change access protocols after they leave.

Is an unoccupied home at greater risk of theft?

One of the most reliable home break-in statistics is that unoccupied residences are more likely to be targeted by burglars. A criminal will test to see if someone is inside the home, and the fewer times someone is inside, the higher the chance that criminal will notice this.

Can I make my vacant property look occupied?

Smart home technology is one of the best ways to automate processes in a home and give the appearance of being inhabited by a permanent resident. Lights turning on at night is perhaps the simplest and most popular solution. These can also be turned on with timers.

1. Risk Assessment

The first step to better home security, whether vacation home security or your permanent residence, is to conduct a risk assessment. The basic formula for this type of calculation looks at the most pressing threats to your property and factoring in your vulnerability to each threat.

For example, if you are worried about break-ins and know that 56% of burglars enter through the front or back door (FBI), you might want to look into getting more secure locks. And if criminals rarely pick locks, vulnerability to picking is less of a concern because it is not as big of a threat.

In the case of vacation rental home security, physical access control is one of the more pressing concerns. Guests are given temporary access to the property, which needs to be easily revoked and changed after each visit. Without this, each guest will always have access to the home.

To compose a list of your most pressing threats and your property’s specific vulnerabilities to them, you can reach out to a residential locksmith for their professional insight. If you already have a good idea of the type of vacation home security that you need, a locksmith can still help you navigate through the best products to choose from.

Key Takeaways:

  • Determine the most likely threats to your vacation security.
  • Assess your vulnerabilities to your list of threats.
  • Focus on vacation home security that lowers vulnerability.

2. Maintenance

Maintenance is extremely important for seasonal vacation homes, which may be left to the ravages of the winter or summer months. Changing seasons can cause wood expansion in windows or doors and lead to issues where a key won’t turn in a lock, which all make it more difficult for locks to lock.

As much as repeated use wears out a lock over time, the lack of use can also cause problems for locks. For this reason, an important part of vacation home security is maintenance. Basic lock maintenance calls for the removal of rust and proper lubrication.

Keep in mind that the best door lock lubricant is not necessarily the lubricant you are using for other maintenance. With the wrong lubricant, you can end up gumming up your lock to the point where you’ll be changing locks next time you visit your property.

If you are renting your vacation home, the best plan for your vacation home security is to have each renter use a unique key. When you plan for this type of maintenance, you can avoid what would otherwise be necessary lock changes via easily rekeyable locks or by installing keypad door locks.

Key Takeaways:

  • A well-maintained home does not look abandoned.
  • Maintenance to locks makes sure they are properly locking.
  • Plan regular key, code, or lock changes to restrict access to past renters, contractors, etc.

3. Detection

What informs maintenance and future risk assessments is the detection of threats, thefts, and damage. Most popular crime prevention strategies encourage the formation of social networks such as a neighborhood watch to detect and report crimes.

With modern technology, vacation home security can be more extensive than ever before. WiFi door locks provide real-time updates on whether doors are locked currently. You can also check the opening and locking history to know if the home is accessed without your knowledge.

The most important element of detection, as it pertains to vacation home security, is response. Ideally, you want someone nearby to react as soon as a threat is detected. If you have a vacation home monitoring system, make sure it calls the police or security company.

Instances of vacation home security that may need to be detected later are things like the exact method of entry. For example, it takes a bit of investigation to tell if your locks have been picked, versus the obvious signs that a lock was drilled or the door was kicked in.

Key Takeaways:

  • The best detection is neighbors who can intervene or report crimes in real-time.
  • You can use smart locks to update you when locks are unlocked.
  • If you have an alarm, it must call out to the police or a local security company.

4. Documentation

A downside to vacation home security is that you can rarely respond to an active threat in real-time. This makes documenting an innocent extremely important. Documentation is your road map to rebuilding your vacation home security stronger after an innocent.

Instead of fixating on the best security camera for vacation homes, concern yourself with the best locations to install surveillance cameras. If the camera isn’t pointed in the direction of the incident, it doesn’t matter if you have the clearest image quality or the most accessible video storage.

Similar to preventing package theft, you are trying to protect valuable property left unattended. You can use your surveillance equipment to deter certain threats, and the recordings can be used to prosecute criminals.

There are many problems with security cameras, but they are extremely effective for prosecuting parties known to you, such as neighbors and renters. As these are the parties most likely to know about your home’s vulnerabilities, you greatly benefit from installing a security camera for vacation home security.

Key Takeaways:

  • Point cameras that capture a clear image at points of access and vulnerability.
  • Documentation is more for gathering evidence than it is an effective crime deterrent.
  • It is easier to find and prosecute recorded criminals when they are known to you.

5. Securing Vulnerabilities

Based on your risk assessment, desired maintenance, and what you have gathered from your detection and documentation, you will continue to find vulnerabilities in your vacation home security. As you find more problems, you have to look for better solutions.

For example, if you find contractors or renters are making unauthorized keys, you can invest in patented keys and patented locks to discourage this. And if you find that vandalism or break-ins target your window security, you can purchase adhesive film that is scratch and shatter-resistant.

More general ways to decrease overall vulnerability are to replace existing exterior locks with high-security door locks. And be sure that exterior doors, and interior doors where more security is needed, use solid core doors, not hollow core doors.

No security is ever perfect, but the less vulnerable you are to a threat, the fewer criminals will bother trying to undermine your vacation home security. Each time you improve your vacation home security, it sends a message to thieves that you are not an easy target, and that is the key to crime prevention.

Key Takeaways:

  • Continue to improve your vacation home security as you find new information.
  • Pair your new info about necessary vacation home security with a product or service.
  • No vacation home security is ever perfect.

Closing Words

A security camera for a vacation home or a vacation home monitoring system is not enough for quality property protection. These devices offer a very limited portion of vacation home security. They are necessary, but they are not where vacation home security starts or ends.

Balance your overall vacation home security with a mixture of locks and these other devices for detection and documentation. Response to an active threat is instrumental to crime prevention, but a vacation home is often far away enough that someone else will need to respond.

For help purchasing and installing the perfect harmony of security products, see if United Locksmith is currently servicing your neighborhood. And for any additional questions or concerns, please leave a comment below!

Category: Residential, Safety & Security, Travel Security

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