The summer is both the time to relax and the time to be on guard – because it is the time to relax! The issue of keeping your home secure while vacationing is a serious one. Today there are excellent high-tech options available to help the cause, but it seems best to not depend totally on technology. The most sensible approach seems to be a combination of the electronic tools and the old reliable – utilizing your network of family friends and neighbors.
Trusting people makes them trustworthy, but in the words of former President Reagan, trust with verification is the way to go when it comes to leaving your young adult children at home if the case warrants it. Let’s face it, everybody’s vacation schedule doesn’t always coincide, so there may be times that you have to leave the older kids at home to meet their work or team obligations. If so, clearly define your expectations – and this may not necessarily be the ‘nobody in the house at any time’ rule. Having some activity in the house is often the best form of protection. But the spectrum from no one in the house at all to the small get-together of trusted friends to the party of the century in your house can be quickly spanned without clear directives.
Should I leave my kids with the house?
First, know your children, and if you suspect that they don’t have the maturity or the personality at this stage of their development to keep things under control, then the nobody in makes sense. If they are reliable, you can make a small and specific list of friends they can have in the house, and make it clear there are no exceptions. Your kids and their inner-circle may be no worry whatsoever, but it’s the second and third layers, the friends of friends of friends that leave little to no direct connection with your own kids that bring problems. This is when your house becomes a target for theft, vandalism, or other forms of disregard. And of course one of the best things to do when leaving a young adult at home is to have a trusted friend or relative do spot-checks – randomly, not on a set schedule that can be easily planned around.
When everybody is going to be gone, make sure to take care of stopping your mail (or having it picked up by someone), putting newspapers on hold, or any other scheduled standing service calls that you may have. Pets obviously have to be taken care of if they’re not going on vacation, too. Parking cars in clear sight in their normal spots is always a good idea to deter the casual observer who may have bad intentions. Lawn care needs to be addressed, too, depending on the length and time of your vacation. Grass growing wild, mail piling up, and ten days of newspapers are obvious tips – and of course this is where your neighbors and family can lend a hand. They’re usually more than happy to do so as long as you return the favor. Using neighbors in this manner helps build a bond of trust with them, too, that can extend into other areas and result in a strong neighborhood support network – one of the most important aspects in keeping your home safe.
The availability of technology that was alluded to – cameras, timed devices, full alarm systems, is extraordinary today. Here are ten progressive tools that you can use for just such a puropose. Of course, everybody has different capabilities and means, so you’ll have to find what level of security meets your needs, your comfort level, and your budget.
But just as technology serves us so well in this mission, it also creates looming problems if we’re not careful. In this day and age of instant posting, pictures on social media, parts of our lives being open to thousands of people to see, think before quickly giving out important information about where you are going, when you are there, and how long before your return. It’s so fun to post pictures of vacations as they’re occurring, but it’s probably best to refrain from doing so unless you have very strong security systems in place. Be careful not to give out so much detail on social media that you compromise your security. While this is very easy for some people, it is a serious challenge for other who use social media very frequently.
Here are some review tips from the How Stuff Works people with some additional ideas and approaches. You’ll enjoy your vacation more with the peace of mind that comes with taking the steps needed to secure your home while you’re away. So invest a little time and perhaps a few dollars into some sensible steps, and then get the very most out of your next extended getaway.