The Trouble With Too Much Information

Ready to take off on your dream vacation? Then implement some cost-free home security precautions before you go so you don’t return to a break-in nightmare. Consider things not to do, and take a more passive approach. For instance, don’t post on social media sites about your upcoming vacation date. Less-than-savory individuals troll these sites looking for information like this so they can turn your home into a free-for-all for a day.

Share vacation pics and cherished moments upon your return and refrain from posting signs that you’ve left town – literally! Leaving notes on doors to the postal carrier or dog sitter tips off troublemakers that you’re not around. The United States Postal Service offers a free mail-holding option online – set the start and end dates, and choose to pick up your mail at the post office or have it delivered to your door on a designated date. Text anyone else while out of town and keep your communications quiet. 

Remember to put valuable electronics and expensive items out of view – why tempt fate? Close curtains or blinds throughout the first floor and set up timers for lights to go on at various intervals to make your home appear occupied. Even leave the radio playing and set out a dog food bowl while you’re gone – give would-be burglars food for thought. Use these low-tech yet effective deterrents while you’re gone and play it safe without spending a dime. 

Safety At First Sight

Keeping your home safe and sound is of utmost importance, whether you’re at home or on vacation. There are several security measures you can take to deter burglars and vandals from disrupting your happy home. Start working on the outside to ensure safety inside. 

Begin by trimming trees and bushes and maintaining a clear view while eliminating unwanted hiding places. Make sure your lawn looks tended to even while out of town by hiring a landscape service or the neighborhood teenager down the block to keep up the appearance that someone is home. Illuminate walkways, porches, backyards and outdoor structures including the garage. Shedding some light on all these areas can work as a strong deterrent to unsavory characters looking to take advantage of darkened surroundings. Use motion-activated lights, solar-powered lights or lighting timers, set at different intervals, throughout your outdoor landscaping to add a less automated, predictable look to your lighting system. 

By simply heeding these simple strategies to maintain a well-lit and well-groomed home, you can potentially avoid some unpleasant situations and know that you’ve taken easy yet effective first steps to creating a safe home. 

Did You Close Your Garage?

Sometimes we neglect to think of the garage as an extension of our front door if attached to the home – it’s a popular point of entry for criminals and should be considered in your home lock-up process. Or if detached, the garage is a place where valuables need to be safeguarded. So, take care to close the garage door when not in use and take extra measures to keep it secure. 

If you’re able to automate your garage with a smart door opener, that’s a great start. But if that’s not in the budget, here are a few low-tech options you can use to keep things safe.

Begin by obscuring any clear window glass on the garage door or entry door. It’s a super simple fix. Find window frosting film at virtually any hardware store and cut it to fit – there’s no need to tempt the eyes of burglars with your visible possessions. Another effective and easy idea is to grab an inexpensive C-clamp at the hardware store. Attach it to any garage door track while on vacation and stop infiltrators from lifting the garage door even if they have a high-tech device that reads your remote control code – old-school wins this one.

Also, make sure any entry door to the garage has a strong lock. If it doesn’t, add a deadbolt lock an d bulk up its stopping power. Of course, know where your electronic door opener is at all times, and don’t leave it in an unlocked car in your driveway – that would make it all too easy for would-be thieves. 

Why Protect Your Wi-Fi?

Keeping your home wireless network secure is an important first step to protecting your home, including personal and financial information, especially if you use an automation system. If your smart gadgets such as door locks, security systems and computers are connected to your Wi-Fi, make sure your wireless connection is fortified against being breached.

Start with a strong password that doesn’t include obvious personal information like your address or pet’s name. Use multiple special characters and numbers in it. Then keep your password under wraps and only share it with family members. Secure your wireless router, too. Choose a router with guest access, parental controls and a built-in firewall. Change your router’s default network name, or SSID (service set identifier) – make hackers work extra hard to figure out your type of router. 

When setting up your encryption option, choose WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2). Currently, this is the most secure encryption choice to protect all the data that goes in and out of your network. And be sure to update software routinely by setting a monthly reminder. Though it may be tedious and seem unnecessary, updates are used to keep our devices and information safe. Closing the door to an open Wi-Fi policy will help you become less vulnerable to dangerous cyberspace forces and let you breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to your home security. 

Take Time To Inventory

Serious measures can be taken to safeguard your home from burglaries and vandalism. However, even after installing top-notch devices and developing a thoughtful security strategy, you may not be able to avert a break-in. But a smart back-up plan with some well-prepared forethought gives a homeowner some leverage.

A simple step is to take inventory of all your valuables. Create a list and take photos of your expensive and irreplaceable items, noting their worth and identifying features along with any receipts for each item. Cataloging your belongings will come in handy for the insurance company and the police should your items be stolen and possibly recovered. You can take it a step further by marking your valuables with a UV pen, which after shining a UV light on them, will help provide proof of ownership. 

Burglars don’t stop at taking store-bought items, they steal financial records and information, too. Be sure to lock up all important documents that include account numbers and personal identification data in a heavy, hard-to-move file cabinet or secure desk. Burglars are looking to get in and out quickly and won’t want to bother with difficult, immobile furniture where vital papers are stored. When not at home, tuck your laptop computer away in a secure place as well. It may contain a lot of hackable information that’s best kept out of a thief’s hands. 

If you take these simple precautions, you’ll be more confident and all the wiser for thinking ahead.