According to the Philippine National Police, a total of 289,198 crimes were reported from January to May 2014, compared to 245,347 during the same period of the previous year. This spike in crime rate emphasizes the need for every Filipino to be more vigilant in ensuring their safety and security — including their homes, especially when away on vacation.

Condominium dwellers are no exception because an empty home always poses a tempting target for criminals. With the 24/7 surveillance and security of your building at the back of your mind, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning your trip and lose track of important things to do before leaving your condo. While arranging flights, reserving hotel rooms, and mapping out your itinerary are fun, preparing your home and condo privacy during your absence is essential.

No matter how long you'll be gone, whether a few days or several months, you need to know about the necessary travel tips and security checks for condo dwellers to ensure supreme security. Read on to find out how to keep your condo secured while you’re away on vacation.

Avoid Posting Information on Social Media

If no one’s staying in your condo, don’t advertise anything about your trip on social networking websites before or during your vacation. If you must share photos while on vacation, maintain privacy in your condo space by making sure these posts cannot be viewed publicly.

You may also want to stay away from doing Facebook or Foursquare check-ins while you’re away. Plenty of people do this and nothing may have come out of it, but you can file this under “better safe than sorry.”

Be Careful When Talking About your Trip

Beyond social media, be aware of who's around when you discuss your trip in public places such as restaurants and PUVs. You don’t have to be paranoid of everyone you meet, but even a chance remark has the potential to lead to unintended and unfortunate consequences. The less information you put out there, the less likely it is to reach the wrong ears and eyes.

It may also be important to note that you should not put your condo address on your luggage tag when traveling on your holiday destination.

Lock Your House Down

A locked home is less attractive to opportunistic burglars. Test each door lock and window to make sure it’s working properly, and lock each of them before heading out to your trip. It is also valuable to lock the door of every room to make it difficult for intruders to access them in case they are able to go through the main door. Burglars like to work quickly, so try to slow down their path into and around the house.

These all seem too simple to mention, but also seem easy to forget. Locking up is definitely one of the must-remembers when leaving your condo.

Check the Sight of your Condo from Outside the Window

This condo safety tip is valuable for every unit owner, but it’s even more important for those who dwell in lower floors, such as the second or third levels. Imagine if you were an intruder peeking in from the from outside of your window, and move away enticing valuables out of plain sight. Laptops, flat-screen TVs and other expensive gadgets within reach of a window make an easy mark for a smash-and-grab-type burglar.

Make an Updated Inventory of Household Goods

Going on a holiday poses an excellent opportunity to list down all items in your condo unit. Ensure you have an updated inventory of household goods which may include appliances, jewellery, firearms, and other valued items. Go through each room and write down a list of possessions. Feel free to take pictures of your valuables and keep them in a safe place or with a friend or relative. Doing these will help in the event of a break-in.

Keep your Valuables in Unlikely Places

Burglars expect valuables to be found in the living room or bedroom — so don’t give them the satisfaction. If you absolutely have to leave valuables in your home, be creative. It could be cash or an important document placed between the cardboard of a picture frame and the picture, a laptop stashed beneath lightweight toys, or some jewelry wrapped in aluminum foil placed inside the freezer.

Unplug all Appliances and Electronic Devices

Running appliances not only add unnecessary utility expense, it could also lead to more costly problems, like overheating — or worse, a fire. If any of your televisions, computers, stereos, and other electronic devices are plugged directly into the wall rather than into a surge protector, pull the plugs in case a power surge happens while you're away.

Toss Out All Garbage

Check if you have any food that will go bad before you leave for your vacation. Throw them into the bin, along with all trash from the kitchen and other areas of house to prevent unwanted smells when you come back home.

Check your Water Faucets

Vacations are a great reminder to inspect water taps and faucets for leakage. If there’s any issues, contact your condo administrator for any plumbing that needs to be done immediately to prevent unnecessary water supply costs.

Turn Off your Gas Supply — Tightly

You’re probably familiar about a condo explosion that happened last year, and contrary to some rumors about a bomb, it was actually caused by a gas leak. If you’re using gas supply, don’t neglect closing it tightly before going away on your trip.

Ask a Neighbor or a Friend who Lives Nearby to Check in

Even if you rarely speak with your neighbors, it is important to give them a heads-up when you are leaving town for a week or more. If you have a good relationship with a neighbor, consider leaving a copy of your key in case of emergency — or at least your contact info while you're away.

When you get back from your trip, be sure you inspect your home upon your return. Look for signs of entry or missing items. If you notice anything stray, be sure to call the police immediately. It’s a good idea to wait outside the home until help arrives and when they do be sure to allow them to collect fingerprints.

A vacation is supposed to be a relaxing time. There is no reason why you should have to spend time worrying about the safety of your home, as long as you make sure to take the necessary precautions. Take note of these reminders for a safe condo living and keep your property and belongings while you're on the road to fun, adventure, and relaxation.