To reduce the risk of this, ensure you have a high-quality security system installed. Companies such as ADT and SimpliSafe offer DIY and fully-managed security systems, along with optional monitoring if required.
For ages, people have been taking all measures possible to protect their homes from intruders. Installing a security system is a great and modern first step, but there are numerous other things you can do to protect your property.
In this article, we’ve outlined 10 of these holiday home safety tips.
1. Make It Look Like You're Home
It’s a well-known fact that burglars are much more likely to target a property if it’s visibly empty. Without home security systems, there's a slimmer chance of criminals getting caught if they can sneak in and out while you’re on holiday or otherwise occupied.
Because of this, we’d suggest keeping up the appearance that you’re still at home. Some of the best ways to do this include:
- Keeping lights and other appliances switched on
- Asking a friend or neighbor to collect your mail
- Parking a spare vehicle or friend’s vehicle in your driveway
- Having someone sweep leaves or shovel the snow regularly
- Using smart home technology, control and monitor your home remotely
2. Tell Your Neighbors About Your Plans
If you’re on conversational terms with your neighbors, it’s seriously worth informing them of your plans. By letting others know when you’re going to be away and whether or not you expect visitors, you will receive an extra layer of security.
For example, they will be able to let you and/or the relevant authorities know if they notice suspicious activity such as someone snooping around your home.
And to further the point above, your neighbors can help you keep up the appearance that there’s someone home. You could ask them to park a vehicle in your drive if you don’t have a spare one to park. Or you might like to ask them to collect mail and newspapers, take care of your gardens (if you’re away for a significant length of time), or even just shovel the snow once or twice.
3. Lock Up Properly
This applies to all situations, including when you’re at home. Failing to lock all doors, windows, and other entrances provides an opening for burglars, enabling them to enter your property undetected.
There are 3 main things we’d suggest doing to reduce the risk of leaving an easy access point for criminals.
- Ensure you spend some time testing your locks to ensure they function correctly and can’t be easily forced without the key.
- Spend a few minutes at night and each time you leave the property walking around and checking that all doors and windows are secure.
- Make sure that your security system is connected to all openings so that you’re protected on the off chance that you do forget to lock something.
Once you develop the habit of checking over your home, keeping things locked up tightly shouldn’t be too difficult.
4. Get a High-quality Security System
Installing a high-quality, monitored security system is often enough to reduce your chances of being burgled on its own. If you think about it, this is logical. What intelligent criminal is going to target a property that’s protected by 24/7 monitored security solutions?
When you’re installing a security system for the first time, it’s important to explore your options carefully. There are countless providers offering budget systems, but they aren’t all equal. Some don’t offer the same standard of monitoring as the high-end options, and some are just too expensive for what you get.
5. Avoid Posting About Your Vacation Online
Although it may be tempting, advertising your holiday on social media can leave you open to problems. Professional thieves are very good at taking personal information and details from the web.
It’s also best to avoid posting holiday photos until you’re back from your trip. If you’re away with friends or family members, consider asking them to do the same. Or at the very least, remove any tags from your profile.
6. Trim Your Bushes and Trees
Nothing makes things easier for criminals than an overgrown garden that blocks your house from view, enabling them to take their time breaking into your home without being seen.
At the same time, overgrown gardens can reduce the effectiveness of your security system. Heavy shade and dark spots can block your cameras, enabling criminals to escape detection. Trees growing close to your home can provide access to second-floor windows or balconies that are often less secure.
If you do have a decent-sized garden that could create black spots, installing motion-controlled floodlights can help secure your property. By placing them strategically, you can illuminate your yard to create a major deterrent.
7. Lock Your Shed and Garage
You’d be surprised by how many people spend hours ensuring their home is completely secured while completely ignoring garages, sheds, and other small buildings. For some, this might be because they don’t contain valuable items or are too difficult to lock up. Others simply forget.
But this is a bad idea. For one, failing to secure external buildings can lead to their contents being stolen. If you don’t have anything valuable inside, this won’t really be an issue, but some tools and gardening equipment can be worth thousands of dollars.
Secondly, leaving buildings containing tools and ladders unsecured can provide an easy way for thieves to access your property. By using this equipment, they may be able to bypass your locks, particularly if you don’t have a strong security system in place.
8. Get a House Sitter
Hiring a house sitter to take care of your place is a great way to keep your house from being empty and unattended while you’re away.
But it’s important to ensure the person you’re asking to look after your property is reliable and trustworthy, or you may simply be inviting a criminal into your home. If possible, try to use a friend or family member as a house sitter. Where this isn’t possible, we’d recommend hiring someone from a trustworthy house-sitting website.
9. Hide Your Valuables
There’s a much greater chance of your home being broken into if you leave valuable items lying around in full view. Small valuables should be placed in a safe or another secure place to ensure they’re protected at all times. Larger items should be placed in closets or locked away out of sight. By reducing the potential rewards for burglars, you will be reducing your break-in risk.
10. Update Your Insurance
Even with the best security practices, there’s still a small chance that your home could be broken into over the Christmas period. To reduce the impact if this does happen, you need to ensure your home insurance is up to date and provides the appropriate coverage.
If you’re not sure of the exact terms and conditions of your policy, have a chat with your insurance provider. For example, some providers require you to notify them if you’re planning an extended vacation, or else your policy may be void.
This Holiday Season: Gift Yourself Peace of Mind
Safeguarding your home during the holiday season is a multifaceted approach that extends beyond just installing a high-quality security system. From making your home appear occupied to engaging with neighbors for an extra layer of security and ensuring proper locking practices, these strategies collectively enhance your home's safety.
It's crucial to be mindful of what you share on social media, maintain your garden for visibility, secure external buildings, consider a house sitter, discreetly store valuables, and keep your insurance updated.
Remember, the best defense is a comprehensive one, combining physical security measures with smart habits and community support. As you celebrate this festive season, let peace of mind be your gift to yourself and your family.