It seems like the trend goes something like this… the older you get, the farther away you want to be during the holidays. I know so many people heading out of town for Christmas and New Years this year. Perhaps the family politics get to be a bit too much or you’d rather not cook a turkey for the umpteenth year in a row. Whatever the reason, I think that jet-setting away far from home during the holidays can be a wonderful and well-deserved retreat for some. With this being the trend right now, I thought it would be a good time to have a little chit-chat about some of the risks involved. No, not the risk of offending family members because you’re going away… the risk of leaving your home unattended for any length of time. Think Home Alone 😉 So, if you’re one of the many heading out of town for holidays, listen up. Here are 5 easy ways of protecting your home from theft during the holidays.
This one’s a bit of a no-brainer but I thought it would be worth mentioning anyhow. Get a security system. There are plenty of companies out there with very reasonable monthly costs who will even provide you with the fancy security hardware for free. Make sure that you have a visible sign outside your home, be it a sticker on a window or a sign in the lawn that indicates that you have a security system enabled at your home. This is a way of notifying potential lurkers that you’ve got back up. Apparently, large dogs also do the trick 😉
Know Thy Neighbour
My husband and I just moved into our home earlier this year, and I must admit that we have a bit of work to do on this front. Getting to know your neighbours is a huge advantage when it comes to protecting your home. Not only will they be on the lookout for strange behaviour but they’re going to actually care about the safety of your home. If you’re heading out of town for any length of time, talk to your trusty neighbours about:
How long you will be away for
If you are expecting any visitors (ie. a cat sitter to come once a day while you’re away)
Bringing in your mail. Having your mail pile up in your mailbox is a sure sign that the home is being left unattended.
Shoveling your walk or driveway if it’s snow season
Lights, camera… no action
Installing a motion detecting light by your home’s entry points is proven to chase away some thieves. Because, not surprisingly, they don’t want to be seen. This is not necessarily going to help during the day when it’s light out, but it will certainly deter those who want to break in at night. Most motion sensors are very affordable and will run you no more than $100. Even the less expensive ones will have pretty cool features that use smart technology, are solar powered and simple to install.
Cameras are a bit more elaborate and having these installed alongside motion detecting lights will lessen your chances of a break in even more. Make sure the cameras are visible so that a potential criminal is able to spot the camera, providing more incentive to get lost. You can go as simple or elaborate with your surveillance system here as there are so many options now. Most are wireless and connect to your smartphone, giving you a clear picture of what’s happening in and around your home even if you’re not there. Some security cameras now have motion detection, night vision and microphones.
Like I said, burglars don’t want to be seen, so make sure your home is as visible as possible to the public. This might sound a bit counterintuitive but hear me out. Burglars seek out homes who have large fences, overgrown trees and large bushes in front of the home. While you think it gives you privacy, thieves look at this as a way to hide from neighbours and not get caught in the act.
TMI on social media
Be cautious of what you post online to social media. I get the urge of wanting to shout out to the world that I’m on vacation, and often do. This is totally fine… if you’re cautious about it. Just make sure you follow these guidelines:
Post the details of your trip to a private social media account
If you have public accounts, post photos of your trip when you’re home
Never post a photo of your house number/address
Seemingly innocuous comments and pictures can be gathered about you so easily these days. This gives lurkers a good idea as to when you might be home or not, your personal habits, and other important personal information.
Just a heads up
Most burglars will actually come to the front door to knock or ring the doorbell to see if anyone is home. The majority of them do not want to victimize homeowners and just want their stuff. So they’ll often come to the front door and if you do answer, they will make up an excuse like they are looking for their lost dog, their car broke down, or they’re selling a service. This can be dangerous as some of them will attempt to force entry at this point. However, the majority of them will leave at this point, not wanting to cause a scene. If you suspect any sort of suspicious behaviour, don’t be afraid to report it!
Ensure your safety
Not to be a Nervous Nelly or anything, but things can still happen to your home no matter how many precautions you take. This doesn’t negate the fact that taking these extra steps will lessen your chances of a break in. But if something were to happen to your home, be sure that you have a great insurance company to back you up.
Esurance is a Canadian insurance company that takes the grunt work out of traditional insurance transactions. They’re always available to chat and you can request your free home and/or auto insurance quote right here!
Love, peace & Home Alone ain’t got nothin’ on me
*The post is sponsored by Esurance, an Allstate company.