These tips from security experts will go a long way to keeping your home secure, especially during the upcoming holiday season.
Make It Seem Like You're Home–When You're Not
When you broadcast news of your vacation plans across social media (or to the clerk at the local store) you never know who else is watching and listening, including thieves. It’s best to be cautious about whom you talk to—and wait to post pictures of your trip until you return.
Remember that scene in Home Alone, when Kevin rigs up mannequins and lights to make it look like his empty house is full of people? You don’t have to go quite that far, but when you’re away, you want your house to look lived-in. Ask the post office to hold your mail, ensure there won’t be any packages delivered, and arrange for someone to take out the trash and recycling. It’s also a good idea to put interior and exterior lights on timers.
Then there are the not-so-obvious things, like putting a television or two on a timer and asking a neighbor to park one of their cars in your driveway if you normally park your car in your driveway. (Anderson actually advises people to park their car in their garage if possible, so people won’t know their habits of coming and going.) The key is to make your house look the way it does when you are home.
“A lot of people think when they go away that they should close all their curtains. If you don’t normally close all your curtains, you shouldn’t do it when you’re away,” Corey advises.
And don’t forget to have someone mow the lawn or shovel snow if you’re away for more than a week. Both Corey and Anderson say leaving your house to the elements while you’re away is a sure sign the home isn’t occupied.
Be Smart with Your Smart Home
Aside from all these low-tech strategies, both Anderson and Corey recommend installing a home security system and/or video doorbell. “There’s a lot of new types of technologies out there that create video display in real time, where you’re aware of what’s going on in your house when you’re away. I think that those are certainly things that individuals could consider, to increase the security at their house,” Anderson says.
“I can’t speak to any one technology, but having multiple security features is always better,” Corey says. “If you have video, if you have lighting, if you have an alarm system, that’s going to be better than if you had none of those things.” She recommends an alarm system with motion detectors and installing video cameras connected to a phone app but cautions people to remember that online systems can be hacked. “Use two-factor authentication and anything else the security or doorbell company recommends to protect the system,” Corey says.
Nothing will guarantee 100-percent safety and security but taking a strategic approach and implementing the measures recommended by experts will reduce your chances of being victimized.