Summer may be over. But before you jet back home, get back to business, and drop off the kids at school, remember to secure your vacation home first. While the number of burglaries has steadily decreased, down 37.1% compared to 2008, in 2017 there were an estimated 1.4 million burglaries in the US (according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program).
Secure your vacation home so you don’t fall prey to property damage, theft, or burglary. Victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.4 billion in property losses in 2017. The average dollar loss per burglary offense was $2,416. Burglaries of residential properties accounted for 67.2 percent of all burglary offenses. The impact of a home invasion isn’t just the financial loss. There’s the emotional loss of losing keepsakes and memorabilia.
Here are 7 tips on securing your vacation home to help prevent burglaries and the like while you’re not on-site.
- Secure all points of ingress and egress before you leave. This means securing all windows, doors, sliding doors, mandoors, and all other openings before you leave. A simple trick for sliding doors and windows is to place a wooden dowel or pvc pipe in the door track. There are “security door bars” that you can buy for upwards of $50 but you can DIY with a PVC pipe that will get the job done too.
- Make the property look lived in. Give the appearance that someone is home. Consider leaving some of the drapes open, leaving the kitchen range lamp on, and using programmable timers on lamps. Sun-light activated timers are a solid option that aren’t susceptible to power outages.
- Hire a caretaker. If your vacation property is far away, consider hiring someone to take care of the yard and pick up the mail. You can also install motion sensor lights near the doorways to spook anyone walking by. No one needs to know that the property is vacant! An unkempt and a dark home is a prime target for burglars.
- Change the locks. After you’ve purchased your vacation home, it’s a smart idea to rekey your locks. Rekeying the locks ensures that all previous keys for the home won’t work anymore. You have no idea if the previous owners, tenants, and guests have kept copies of their keys. Read more about rekeying locks here. Another option is to have a digital lock installed by a reputable locksmith.
- Don’t leave your spare keys in an obvious spot. For example, the mailbox, welcome mat, or fake rocks are some of the more obvious places. The doormat is usually the first place anyone, including a burglar, would look. Where’s a non-obvious place to hide a key? With your neighbor! While this isn’t necessarily hiding the key, if you have a neighbor you can trust, this is also a solid option for protecting yourself against a lockout.
- Install a home security system. There’s so many affordable home security systems ranging from simple keyless entry locks and deadbolts to Bluetooth systems that will alert you via text or email if a door or glass is broken. You can also monitor your property with a camera system that will trigger a siren if anyone gets too close and alert local police if anything is broken into. Home security systems can help provide peace of mind and security for your vacation home or second home while you’re away.
- Befriend your neighbors. If some of your neighbors are year-round residents, ask them to check on your place occasionally and make sure they have a way to contact you. Also alert them if your having work done on your house. Porch even recommends not posting your plans on social media and just tell those you trust.
Investing in strong locks, regular rekeys, security systems, common sense, and video surveillance equipment are a priority when securing your vacation home. If you have questions about securing your vacation home, second home, primary home, or business, call us for recommendations on home security systems, hardware upgrades, and rekeying locks.