Although there is no sure-fire way to protect a break-in for most of us, preventive measures are critical to deter a burglary, aside from an installed security system. Here is a 7-point checklist to help:
1) Ask someone to keep an eye on things
Nothing beats a good neighbour or a good friend who can drop in periodically. Do provide them with your vacation contact information. A little help may go a long way e.g. taking in the post, putting your garbage bins in and out, packages on the front step or sprinkler system malfunction.
2) Install Timers
This is particularly effective on not only lights/ lamps at home, but TV or Radio, set at random intervals. It would be difficult to establish a pattern for an external observer. Some security systems offer outlets than can be turned on and off at will from a smartphone.
3) Mow the Lawn
One of the biggest give-away is an unkempt lawn. If you are away for an extended time, it would be wise to schedule a lawnmower company (or pay a neighbourhood kid) to ensure that your lawn is tidy. Of particular importance is if there is a storm, branches will need to be removed. Also ensure that you do not leave things outside to tempt burglars such as bicycles, expensive shoes or toys etc.
4) Stop the Mail
Contact your local post office and consider having your mail delivered in bulk when you get home. An overflowing mailbox is a dead giveaway.
5) Social Media
It is always wise to be careful of what you post on social media as it can be tracked or traced by an internet-savvy burglar. Posts such as Family Holiday in Bali could be read as an invitation that the home is not occupied. And we all know of famous celebrities who have had their homes broken into for this very reason.
6) Lock Everything
Double-check that every window and door is locked (including the garage door and the second-floor balcony). And on that note, make sure that your spare key is not stashed somewhere outside.
7) Stash Valuables in a Safe
Whilst at home, you could be using your jewellery and cash on a regular basis and it may be left on your dresser. However, if you are travelling, carefully stow away all valuable items and this includes passports or precious stones. On that note, take the effort to keep a detailed inventory of valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and serial number - or better yet, a photo album with this information.
Even with this list, remember to plan for your vacation and not rush out of the door at the very last minute. Go through this checklist and ensure that each point is covered well in advance before leaving your home.
If you wish to discuss further on some ideas of security concerns, our Property Management team would be delighted to help keep you and your home safe.