With the holidays just around the corner, many families in Sarasota are planning trips to see far away loved ones. When they leave, their home becomes vulnerable. Burglaries and thefts can be devastating at this time of year, when many people have new gifts and precious decorations out on display. You can help keep your home safe with the following tips. By creating the appearance that you are at home and by making your home less desirable to intruders, you could prevent a terrible problem from occurring this holiday season.
1. Ask a Neighbor to Park In Your Driveway
One of the red flags that might tip off an intruder to your absence is a lack of a vehicle in your driveway. Ask a trusted neighbor who drives to work daily to park in your driveway while you're away. This would give the appearance that someone is coming home to your house each evening.
2. Install Smart Lights In Your Home
Smart lights are light bulbs that can be controlled with an app on your smart phone. Smart lights can be turned on and off remotely, or can be set to turn on and off with a schedule. Purchase just one or two smart light bulbs and install them in the visible parts of your home. Program the smart lights to turn on and off with your schedule in the evening. This creates the appearance that you are home, even when you're not.
3. Ask the Post Office to Hold Your Mail
A big pile of mail sitting on your door step or in your mailbox is a sign to intruders that you're not home. Set up a hold on your mail in advance of your trip. Your post office will hold your mail there until you return. Look into this at least a few weeks in advance of your trip, in case your post office needs a long lead time to make the hold happen.
Alternatively, you can also ask a neighbor to collect your mail while you're away. If your neighbor is also watering your plants or feeding a pet, this option might be more convenient. Ask your neighbor to place the mail out of sight from the windows. A large unopened pile of mail in an otherwise clean home is another sign that you're not home, and haven't been for some time.
4. Install Motion Detector Lights Outside
Motion detector lights don't create the appearance that you're at home, but they do ward off possible intruders by making it difficult to approach your home without being noticed. Put motion detector lights on your garage, porch and in your back yard as well.
Look for models that will swivel to follow motion as it occurs on the property. This makes it difficult for anyone who might want to break in to be hidden when approaching. Have these lights installed by a professional contractor, to ensure the work is done properly.
5. Install a Smart Security System
Smart security systems consist of many parts. Sometimes these smart systems are assembled one piece at a time by the homeowner, other times they're bought in kits. Most smart security systems consist of motion-activated cameras. Some smart security systems also involve smart locks and video doorbells. A smart security system enables you to monitor your home from a remote location, and contact the police if necessary.
If you're not tech savvy or simply not sure that you'll be able to monitor your home from your phone at all hours, consider a professional security system instead. Shop around for the best deal. Compare rates and services: some security companies charge to respond to alarms, others do not. Installation fees vary as well.
6. Avoid Discussing Travel Plan Specifics Online
Many people have a habit of discussing their upcoming vacations on their social media page. You can mention that you're going away, but don't say when, or for how long, or where. Most of all, don't discuss how your home will be empty for the next several weeks. Your social media page may not be secure, and people you don't even know could be reading and following your activity.
7. Put Exterior Christmas Lights on a Timer
Put your exterior Christmas lights on a timer, so that your home and yard will be lit up at night while you're away. This creates the appearance that you're at home, and also makes your home less desirable to intruders, who might not want to cross your lawn in the light of your twinkle lights.
8. Keep Christmas Presents Out of Sight
Christmas presents make your home more tempting to people who might want to burglarize your property. Keep your Christmas presents away from windows where people can see them. On a related subject, if you've just unwrapped your gifts, avoid placing empty boxes for high-end items in your trash. Intruders who see empty boxes for expensive televisions, computers, tablets and other devices might find breaking into your home more worthwhile.
9. Buy an Electronic Guard Dog
Dogs can deter intruders by barking when they come to the door. If you don't have a real dog, buy an "electronic guard dog." This is a device that will make barking noises and create fear for people who might be trying to break into your home. Electronic guard dogs are motion-activated, only turning on if someone tries to enter your home through the window or door. Installing this device is an inexpensive way to make your home seem like it's being guarded, even if you're not there.
10. Use the Timer on Your Television
Many modern televisions come with a timer. Program your television to turn on and off according to your normal schedule. Coupled with some activity from a smart light, this creates the impression that you are in your home and conducting your normal activities.
11. Avoid Purchasing Packages Online
Packages delivered to your doorstep could stay there for days if they're not collected by your neighbor or a friend. Avoid purchasing any packages that could potentially be delivered while you're away. If you must have a package delivered, make arrangements for someone you trust to pick up the package for you.
12. Install Shatterproof Film on Your Windows
Shatterproof film strengthens and fortifies your windows, to make it very difficult for someone to break into your home. If you're happy with your existing windows, install shatterproof film. If you would like a window replacement, install new windows with shatterproof glass. Either way, this home improvement could help you avoid a break-in at a very unfortunate time.
Contact Gilbert Design Build
Are you looking to upgrade your home? Gilbert Design Build has been in business for nearly twenty years. We have experience working with homeowners and home buyers, to help them create the house they've always wanted. For more information about how you can turn your home into your dream home, contact us for a consultation.