Common sense tells us that burglars strike when everyone’s out. It is convenient, easy, and well, they hate company. Murphy’s Law also supports this: if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong while you're on vacation—definitely the worst time that a household calamity can strike.
It is understandable that some homeowners feel uneasy about leaving to take a break from the work, but how will they ensure home security while on vacation? No one wants to come home to a ransacked house after a weekend of fun and relaxation.
In your travel checklist, make sure you include measures on how to keep your home safe while you’re away.
Seek out a friend
You have this one friend or family member that you trust with your life, right? Or a neighbor that you really have a good feeling about? Ask them nicely to watch your home while you’re on vacation. Ask them to drive by your home every now and then, pick up your mail, feed your cat, or rake the leaves in your garden. Ask your condo neighbor to check your doorstep for mail or subscriptions or for any unusual activity in your floor or building.
Let your landlord know
If you are living in a condo for rent, it would be best to notify your landlord/lady that you are going away on vacation. This would alert them to keep tabs on your home (or their home to be precise). They can also do some repairs or condo maintenance while you’re on vacation. Just make sure to store all your valuables in a locked cabinet or safe. You may also alert your alarm company.
Secure the locks
This may seem like a no-brainer condo tip for renters who are going away, but data shows this is often overlooked: make sure the doors and windows are locked and secure. Reports show that 30% of burglars enter homes through an open or unlocked door or window.
Keep all entry points locked. Make sure your door is sturdy and burglar-proof. Replace your deadbolt if necessary. A door alarm would also put off burglars.
Leave curtains as they are
There is a debate whether to close or open your curtains. Closed curtains will keep people from peering inside but that also will make it obvious that no one’s home. Your best bet is to leave your curtains the way you usually keep them in order to create the illusion that someone’s home. Just make sure that expensive and valuable items such as jewelry or computers are out of plain sight.
Unplug electrical appliances
Protect your home from fire and power surge while on vacation by making sure that you unplug all unnecessary electrical appliances such as the TV, refrigerator, and coffee maker. Of course, keep alarm systems and timers plugged and activated. Turn off gas supply.
Install a security system
There have been several researches that noted a correlation between burglary and security systems. One particular study found that more four in five convicted burglars would try to determine if an alarm was present, and if there is one, majority of them would leave and seek another target.
Apart from shooing away burglars, the easiest way to do a house check while you’re away is also to install a reliable security system that you can access via your mobile devices. They show real-time videos and give you real-time alerts.
Time your lights
Most people would advise you to leave your lights on to look like someone’s home. But apart from a spike in your electric bill, lights turned on 24/7 is also suspicious. The best way to keep your condo safe is to invest in a light switch timer. This will turn on and off your light according to a programmed schedule.
Leave a warning
Another effective condo tip is to advertise your security. Let burglars know that you’re watching them and they came to the wrong home. Mount a signage or a warning on your front door about the presence of an alarm system. The sign can say “Look up and smile at the security camera” to warn intruders.
You don’t have to “check-in” at every stop or destination and announce it on social media. Postpone posting pictures until you’re back. For all you know, burglars are stalking your accounts. But if you can’t keep mum about trips and travels, set your settings in a way that only friends can see your posts.
Keep valuables in unlikely places
No burglar would bother looking into a jar of cookies or box of cereals. You can hide valuable items in such unlikely places. Even if a burglar gets in, he would have a hard time looking for what he wants. A burglar doesn’t like staying too long. If it will take him more than 10 minutes to ransack your house, he will most likely leave.
Outsider’s point of view
Pretend that you don’t live in your house or condo. Step outside and then evaluate your home. If you were a burglar, would you attempt to break in? Is it too convenient? Try peering into the windows. Can you locate valuables easily? Does the house look like someone’s inside? Kick the front door and see if it is sturdy enough and try tampering with the locks.
Going home to a burglarized house or condo is a nightmare. This could keep you from going away on vacation, but it shouldn’t. With proper safety and security precautions, you can have peace of mind as you travel and make your much-needed escape from city life.