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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

How To Prevent House Burglaries While On Vacation

by Taylor August 29, 2022

Leaving home is fun, but it can also be a bit scary. After all, all of your stuff is in there. It’s where you live and probably where you feel most secure. What if something were to happen?

You’re prepared, though, aren’t you? You’re ready to learn all of the tricks that burglars like to employ and use those tricks against them. You’re ready to turn your house into Fort Knox. Nothing gets in or out. You can protect your home while on vacation like an expert.

The truth is burglaries peak during vacation months since a family on vacation is easy to take advantage of if you’re a burglar. You need to know how to prevent crime, as this is a frequent security threat. But you’re ready for that. You only need to follow these tips, and most burglars won’t stand a chance.

So here’s everything you need to consider to protect your home while on vacation:

Exterior Fortifications

There are a few things to pay attention to around the outside of your home.

1. Locks

First and foremost, make sure that everything is locked. If everything is locked, are those locks effective? Meaning the lock does not have a habit of not catching, so the door won’t close. And if you are not using high-security locks, be sure criminals are not picking locks in your area.

2. Alternate Access

It’s worth going over all possible access points and ensuring you didn’t forget anything. Look around and make a list of every possible entry point for burglars. Did you include all the windows? What about the pet door? Can a burglar unlock your house by putting their hand through the mail slot?

3. Doors

Just secure your doors in general. You’ll protect your home while on vacation and even after coming back. This is done with more than locks by using stronger doors, including installing metal security screens. You can also use 3-inch set screws for door hinges and strike plates.

4. Foliage 

After making sure everything is locked, look at the plants around your home. Could a burglar climb a tree and get to a window? Trim the tree. Could a burglar hide in a bush? Trim the bush.

5. Lighting

Speaking of exposing burglars, get some motion-activated exterior lighting. That way, if someone walks up to your house, all of your neighbors can see that something’s up. And exterior lights that are normally on while the home is occupied should be set to turn on via a timer.

6. Spare Keys

Remove any hidden spare keys. If you’re not home, the burglar can take their time looking for spare keys around your porch, and odds are they’ll know where to look. Taking the key will protect your home while on vacation, and it’s something many people don’t think to do.

7. Burglar Tools

Make sure potential tools and devices a burglar could use, like ladders, are locked away in sheds. Even clearing away large rocks that can be used to attack windows is a good idea.

8. GPS

One burglar trick that not many people know is the GPS trick. If you’re parked at an airport and have a visible GPS, a burglar can steal your car and use the GPS’s “home” feature to find out where you live. Hide any GPS units in your vehicle.

9. Surveillance 

Get a security camera or a video doorbell. If you can’t afford one, a fake security camera is generally effective in scaring off intruders. And if you can’t afford a fake one, simply hanging up signs indicating that you have a security system could also work.

10. Smart Locks

Smart locks can be harder for lock-picking burglars to bypass than standard locks. Using these locks will protect your home while on vacation and when you return. If you already have a keypad lock, wipe the keypad down. A burglar can look at the fingerprints on the pad to figure out your passcode. And with WiFi locks, you can check when the lock is opened while away.

11. Garages

Disconnect your garage door opener. There are universal remotes that a burglar may own, which they can use to open your garage door. You should also generally improve your garage door security with a strong lock and protect the manual release for automatic openers.

12. Windows

If you have the time and money, you can secure your windows by replacing them with harder-to-break glass, like laminated glass. You can also use security film, which works like a window tint. This adhesive film prevents the easy shattering of glass, even when punctured.

Interior Fortifications

Now that you have the outside of your house protected, it’s time to look at the inside. You need to think about the interior to fully protect your home while on vacation.

1. Timers

Get timers that turn your lights on and off at various intervals. These make it look to burglars like someone is still living in the house..

2. Security System

Get a security system. These range in price and complexity and include alarms, cameras with facial recognition software, window sensors, door sensors, glass-breaking sensors, pet cameras, and many more. There could be a cheaper one in your price range, or you can go all-out high-tech.

3. Check Up

If you already have security systems, double-check that the batteries are still working and the system can be armed. You need them functioning to protect your home while on vacation.

4. Noise

You can leave the TV or radio turned on or get a timer that turns them on at various intervals. Burglars rarely touch houses with noise coming from them since that’s generally a good indicator that someone’s inside. Of course, be careful doing this because something could short out, or you could run up your electric bill.

Locking Down Valuables

Next, you need to make sure everything that a burglar would want to grab is in a safe location. It’s a good idea to pay close attention to specific items alongside general security around your house to protect your home while on vacation.

1. Storage

Think about every valuable item that can be stolen and put all of them somewhere safe. Either invest in a safe or, potentially, bring these valuables with you.

2. Visibility 

Ensure valuables are out of sight and not visible through windows. You may want to keep your blinds open, so make sure anything expensive is not visible. Overall, make sure your valuables are in an extra-safe location to protect your home while on vacation.

3. Items

Vulnerable items include jewelry, electronics, guns, and medication. Jewelry and electronics are well-known valuables, but most people don’t think about how thieves can use and sell guns and drugs.

Make It Look Lived In

There are a few telltale signs that nobody’s currently occupying a house, and burglars know how to look out for all of them. 

1. Visitors

Get a housesitter, neighbor, or trusted friend to take care of these things while away to protect your home while on vacation.

2. Maintenance

Make sure the yard is still getting mowed regularly. It’s not hard to glance at a lawn and see it’s unusually unkempt. The house should not fall into a state of visible neglect while you are vacationing.

3. Mail

Either get someone to pick up deliveries or get them stopped altogether. You can temporarily halt certain deliveries or notify the post office to stop sending you things while you’re away. Stopping mail also works to prevent package theft.

4. Vehicles

Have a car sitting in your driveway. If you have multiple vehicles or you’re not taking your car on vacation, you can do this pretty effortlessly, but otherwise, you might want to employ a friend or neighbor to do this for you and help protect your home while on vacation.

5. Curtains

If your curtains are usually not drawn, then do not draw your curtains. You might be uncomfortable with the prospect that your house is visible to burglars, but burglars look for homes with drawn curtains when searching for a likely empty place.

6. Trash

Make sure your trash is collected and taken out on trash day. This doubles as a preventative measure against pests as a bonus.

7. Dogs

If you don’t have a pet, consider using a dog for security. If you already have a dog, invest in a pet sitter instead of a kennel. Burglars are deterred by the sound of loud barking when trying to break in. No one wants to deal with an angry dog. Dogs are a great way to protect your home while on vacation or any other time you’re away.

Keep It A Secret

Word spreads fast, sometimes in ways that you’ll never anticipate. If the wrong person knows you’re going on vacation, they might try to break in. Make sure you’re not letting everyone know that you’re leaving to better protect your home while on vacation.

1. Social Media

Don’t post about your vacation on social media until afterward. The internet is fantastic at spreading things around quickly. You never know who might see your post and learn that you’re away from home.

2. Eavesdropping

Be careful when bringing up your vacation in casual conversation. You might be able to trust close friends, but can you trust the people they might tell? Can you trust your hairdresser? Can you trust your Uber driver? Be selective about who knows that you’re going on vacation, and make sure those people aren’t giving up the information to everyone.

Keep Others Informed

On top of not informing people, there are a few groups of people that you probably should tell.

1. Security Companies

If you have an alarm, you can call your alarm company and let them know you’re on vacation, so if the alarm goes off, they’ll know something is wrong. They can help protect your home while on vacation.

2. Neighbors

You should tell your immediate neighbors, so if they see anything happening at your house, they’ll know it isn’t you, and they should probably call the police. Just be sure that they are not going to share the information with others in a harmful way. But if you expect them to help if there is an emergency, show you trust them.

Other Safety Precautions

There are other safety precautions worth looking into beyond preventing burglaries. You also need to think about potential natural disasters from home neglect if you want to fully protect your home while on vacation.

Overall, there are a few other safety precautions to look out for that you might miss when you’re thinking about burglars. Getting these things done ensures no other natural things can go wrong, and you can protect your home while on vacation.

1. Fire

To prevent fire, ensure you unplug all nonessential electronics. Check if your smoke alarm still has working batteries. Ensure you turn off heating systems. Close all internal doors so that if there is a fire, it will not spread.

2. Flood

If it’s freezing, make sure your pipes are insulated so that they don’t explode. Shut off your water mains. Get environmental sensors that can sense flooding. Set your water heater to vacation mode.

4. Storm

Ensure everything sitting outdoors is locked down in case the wind gets bad. Clear your storm drain to prevent storm flooding.

5. Biohazard

Clear your fridge so that you don’t have rotting food when you get back. Clean your house, ensuring you pick up any food material so that bugs and rodents won’t come to your home. Do your dishes to prevent pests.

FAQs

What’s the best home security while on vacation?

Home security while on holiday or vacation is a vital thing to consider. The absolute best vacation home security is to hire a house sitter. You can also secure your door and install security cameras and motion sensors. Overall, security is all about layering and combining strategies.

How do you keep your home safe while on vacation?

If you want to know how to keep your home safe when away, research everyday home security options, like cameras, smart locks, safes, shatterproof glass, and anything else. That’s generally how to keep your house safe while on vacation.

How do you keep your home safe when you are away?

Unlike what’s commonly thought, most burglars strike when no one’s home, rather than at night when everyone’s sleeping. To prevent this kind of burglary, secure your door, advertise your security system (even if you don’t have one), get kick-resistant door plates, get a dog, and look into other security options.

The best strategy is to use many methods to protect your home while on vacation or at work.

How do you protect your home while on vacation?

You don’t need to protect your home yourself while on vacation. House sitters from trustworthy sources are a great way to protect your home. Outside of that, get security technology, like smart locks or cameras.

Conclusion

Security is all about layering, and when thinking about preventing burglary, you need to employ as many tactics as you can. Burglaries are particularly commonplace in vacation months, after all.

Fortunately, you now know most of the best possible ways to stop a burglar in their tracks. You’re ready to go on vacation without worrying about someone breaking into your home anytime soon because you know how to protect your home while on vacation.

With your exterior secure, burglars will not be able to find an easy or accessible way into your home. And without that in, they’re pretty much stopped before they even start.

Even if criminals find a way in, they’ll have trouble not tripping your alarms or motion sensors. And they might get disoriented by light or TV timers, becoming unsure which rooms have people and which ones do not.

And even if a burglar navigates all of that, they won’t be able to find your valuables easily or break into your safes. They’ll run out of time before they set off an alarm or alert a neighbor or housesitter you employed for help.

Burglars generally follow the path of least resistance when choosing a target to break into, and your house is far from that. You know how to protect your home while on vacation. Rest assured, you will be safe, and you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest extent.

Category: Residential, Safety & Security, Travel Security

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