The holiday season means travel for many—visiting loved ones, taking that special trip you’ve always wanted to, and jaunting to the city for the sights, lights, and delights of the season. All that travel means that you’ll be away from home, leaving it and the valuables inside vulnerable to those who are on Santa’s naughty list. To avoid troubles and heartache during this most joyous season of the year, here are a few tips to keep things back home as safe and secure as possible.
1. Keep it to yourself.
You wouldn’t post the combination to your wall safe. Why post your travel plans? Don’t advertise your absence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. While your family and friends aren’t likely to come and ransack your home or vandalize your property, who knows who might see your post on their feeds? Keeping your plans vague, if you mention them at all, keeps the unsavory characters from even considering you a potential victim. Don’t post photos or status updates from your travel destination—wait until you get home to upload a wonderful photo album for your friends and family to admire.
- Tip: When was the last time you checked your social media privacy settings? Ensure that your profiles and all the information associated with them are visible to only the people you’re connected to.
2. Leave someone behind to keep an eye on things.
If you can afford it, hire a house sitter. Ask a friend or neighbor to stop by a few times while you’re gone. If you know of a responsible young adult who still lives at home or shares a flat with a roommate, ask them to come and stay at your place while you’re traveling. Having someone actually on the premises is a great deterrent to those who would rather break in to an empty house.
3. Make it look like someone is home.
If you can’t leave anyone at home, at least you can make it look like you’re there. Purchase some inexpensive timers for lights, television, or computer monitors. Set them to come on at the same time they would if you were at home, such as the time you normally get home from work. Set them to turn off at the same time you normally go to bed.
You can also check out apps like Home Protector that you can set to make regular home-like noises all throughout the day. From the refrigerator door opening to a baby crying, you can fill your home with sounds to keep the burglars away.
4. Put valuables in a safe place.
Locking your jewelry, guns, and even larger items like televisions in a safe while you’re away can ensure that, should your house be burglarized, the bad guys won’t get away with much. Most house thieves are fast movers—get in, get the loot, and get out. For added protection, choose a fireproof safe, which can withstand not only burglars but Mother Nature, too. We recommend that you purchase the best safe you can afford—even if it’s not a top-of-the-line model. Some protection for your valuables is better than none at all.
5. Know before you go.
If the worst should happen, your best chance at recovering your stolen items is to know what you have ahead of time. Make an inventory of your valuables. Take photos of each room and your most valuable items before you leave. Be sure to keep the camera with you or upload the pictures to the cloud so they won’t be lost. Keep a list of serial numbers of electronics, computers, guns, musical instruments, etc. so you can provide them to police. Most thieves steal for the cash value of the goods that they can get from selling or pawning them. While the robbers may never be caught, having detailed information on your most-likely-to-end-up-in-a-pawn-shop items can aid the authorities in recovering them.
Taking the time to do everything you can to keep your valuables and home secure is better than leaving it open and fresh for the picking. Take your holiday trips without the worry of what you’ll find on your return. Bon Voyage!