Vacation Prep: Secure Your Home, Worry Less

???????????????????????????????????????According to the FBI, there were an estimated 2,188,005 burglaries in 2011, with residential properties accounting for 74.5 percent. This breaks down to a home intrusion almost every 13 seconds. Will you be the next hit during your vacation? Instead of setting your security alarm and hoping for the best, take extra precautions to safeguard your home while away.

Install a Home Security System with a Camera

Burglars know home security systems and how much time they have to grab valuables before the cops arrive. Most residential crimes take less than a minute, giving thieves ample time to make a getaway, according to If you want maximum protection, invest in an automated surveillance system with motion detectors that send alerts to your smartphone when a camera is triggered, so you can see what’s happening and document the situation in real-time.

Cover your tracks. If you install security equipment yourself, don’t leave boxes lying around in your recycling bin. Burglars casing your house can see the system you bought and research how to disarm it.

Avoid Announcing You’re Out of Town

It’s not uncommon for a home to be staked out beforehand. A potential thief might be checking to see how long it takes you to collect the mail or what time you get home. They can also look up your address and info online to see if you left a Facebook post about being away and how long you’ll be gone. Instead, tell trusted neighbors you’ll be gone in private and let them know which cars should be in the driveway and who is authorized to come and go.

Make Your Home Look Uninviting

The state of your lawn could say a lot to a burglar. A well-manicured lawn can signal that you personally pay close attention to detail or employ landscapers and a team of maintenance. Meanwhile, an overgrown or unkempt lawn could indicate a vacancy or an absentee owner who works long hours. Keep your home maintained and keep trash bins from languishing on the curb for days while you’re gone. Ask a neighbor to pick up mail and newspapers. To make your home look extra uninviting, consider posting “Beware of dog” signs to keep predators at bay.

Automate Your Home

Many security systems already offer home-automation services like controlling lights from a personal device while you’re gone. Pick up a Phillips Hue smart light bulb to control the bulbs in your house. Then, just program your smartphone to turn on lights remotely or set a timer.

Apps like Vivint unlock your doors for a neighbor, control appliances and adjust your thermostat when you’re not in. But for an all-inclusive app that controls and enhances your current security system, pick up the app. Get real-time alerts, watch insider video and open or close your garage door all with this app that syncs up to just about any existing home alarm system.

Protect Your Identity

What if the thief gets inside your home or grabs discarded paperwork and mail? Ensure you identity is secure by keeping important documents like tax forms, wills and passports in a bolted safe. Consider a service like LifeLock to automatically protect against credit fraud and identity theft in the event a burglar gets hold of private info. The company sends out alerts whenever your information is being used to apply to wireless services like credit cards or mortgage loans.

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