total-connectIt is tough for homeowners to relax in a vacation paradise if they are worried about what is happening back home. Not only is there burglary and vandalism to worry about, but there is also everything from leaky pipes to weather damage that adds to the plaguing thoughts. However, there are proven home security measures that can give much needed peace of mind and a vacation of fun instead of worry.

The Trusted Person

Few things in life are as valuable as trusted friends, relatives or neighbors, especially for families about to embark on vacation. Trusted people are the eyes and ears of homeowners on vacation as well as being their official representatives to authorities if any issues arise.

Trusted people need keys, their own alarm codes (not the master codes), and instructions in writing. Make sure they have keys to the house, any outbuildings as well as vehicles in case of emergency. If the home is protected by an alarm system, contact the home security monitoring agency to advise them of the name and contact information of the trusted person who will be keeping watch. The alarm company will offer a temporary alarm access code as well as a password to use if contact is necessary.

Provide trusted people with the full vacation itinerary and detailed contact information. Cellular service can sometimes be an issue while traveling. Homeowners should also be diligent in notifying trusted people upon return from vacation before entering the house, especially if it is an early arrival home. Once home, it is important to remember to cancel the temporary alarm code and password and retrieve keys.

Keep the Vacation a Secret

The fewer people that know about an upcoming vacation the better. It is practically a given that in the extended circle of friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances that there is an opportunistic criminal looking for an easy target. Keep the details of a vacation sketchy. Be non-committal about dates and times even to people who are aware that some sort of vacation is planned.

Though it is very tempting to announce a vacation to friends online through social media posts, do not do it. Go about as if it is home life as usual. Keep posting while on vacation, but not about the vacation. Pictures and exciting moments can be shared upon return. Make sure children follow this rule too.

Battening Down the Hatches Before Vacation

When the weather turns bad for ships at sea, the sailors batten down the hatches to prevent water intrusion. Before going on vacation it is equally as important to take care of details that can cause trouble while the family is away. Put a hold on newspaper and mail delivery. Have friends or neighbors take care of any landscaping concerns with an offer to return the favor when they go on vacation.

An article on tips to keep homes safe while on vacation suggests removing any spare keys stored outside. It is actually much safer to never store spare keys anywhere outside the home that is not under lock and key. The exception may be to hide a key in an outbuilding that is locked with a combination lock. Thieves know the hiding spots for keys from key hiders to underneath mats and planters and above door frames.

Turn off the water supply to the clothes washer to prevent leaks. Check to make sure the toilet that sometimes keeps running has stopped before leaving the house. Unplug televisions, computers and small appliances in case of a power surge, and place high value items in a safe deposit box at a bank.

Upgrade Home Security

One of the best protections for homes is a modern wireless home security system. With the costs steadily going down for this protection due to mass production of new easily installed wireless sensors, this proven protection may be something to include in the vacation budget. Statistics prove that criminals want the easiest targets and routinely choose to bypass homes that have systems that provide home security and monitoring.

New systems have the ability to incorporate tiny surveillance cameras that send secure live feeds to computers and smartphones. Homeowners can visually check in anytime they desire, and the professionally trained agents at the monitoring center will dispatch help in case of any emergency.

Families planning vacations should make lists of things to do to secure their homes before the doors are locked and they drive away. It should include active things needing done such as stopping mail delivery to agreed upon safety protocols such as not giving details about the vacation and being careful about social media posts. Criminals are always actively looking for an opportunity to commit crimes without getting caught, but homes do not have to be vulnerable simply because it is family vacation time.

Todd Bedford
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