Many break-ins are opportunistic crimes, in which thieves see an occasion to break into a home easily because a door or window is unlocked, a hidden key is easily accessed, or a door is not equipped with a high-quality lock.
Secure your home with a tested deadbolt. One of the best tips to protect your home while on vacation is to ensure you have a secure door lock to your home. Master Locksmith John Charnley recommends securing your home with a deadbolt that has been verified as secure by a third-party organization, like the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a private non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the voluntary standardization to develop and maintain performance standards for builder's hardware.
Kwikset smart lock deadbolts feature SmartKey® technology that provides extra security against lock picking and lock bumping. Kwikset’s BumpGuard™ takes anti-bumping protection a step further with a patented side-locking bar – instead of a traditional pin and tumbler design – to protect specifically against lock bumping. There are a variety of smart lock options that you can open with a traditional key, key pad, key fob or Bluetooth-enabled features on a smartphone.
In addition to securing your entry with a deadbolt, another item to consider is your door itself. Doors that are made from sturdy materials, such as fiberglass, solid wood, solid wood core and/or metal are more difficult to force entry, and serve as a deterrent for opportunistic break-ins. When installing your door, ensure that you have no exposed hinges, which burglars can possibly unscrew and remove to gain entry into your home, and choose to install doors that swing outwards, as opposed to inwards, to help prevent forced entry. As an extra security measure, reinforce your doorframe with several 3-inch screws nailed into the doorframe to absorb any forced entry and add difficultly for burglars to breach.
Make sure your mail and newspapers don’t pile up. A mailbox full of mail is a surefire way to signal to potential burglars that you are away from your home for a long period of time. When you know you will be on vacation for more than 2 days, call the US Postal Service (USPS) to hold your mail until you return. The USPS can hold your mail from 3 to 30 days. In some areas, they offer an online form for you to submit, which is a free feature. In addition, ask your newspaper delivery service to hold your newspapers until you return from your vacation. Last, ask a neighbor or a friend to stop by once a week to pick up any flyers, promo materials, etc. that may be left on your door while you are away.
Don’t hide spare keys. Another tip for protecting your home is to eliminate all spare keys you have hidden outside of your home. Burglars are savvier than ever, and are aware of the typical key hiding places, including under the doormat, hide-a-key fake rocks and more. Instead, leave your key with a trusted neighbor, consider using a lock box or replace your existing key with the Kwikset Kevo lock, which controls your lock using Bluetooth technology and your smartphone. You will never need to worry about losing your keys again.
Invest in light timers. Homes that are not well lit or dark for extended periods of time make it easy for burglars to break into your home unnoticed. Before a long trip, add an extra layer of security to your home by making sure your home is well lit at night with indoor and outdoor lighting timers. Using the timers, you can set your indoor lights to turn on at times when you normally would be home, such as after work or during the weekends, to offset any suspicions that your home is unoccupied. You can also purchase motion-detection outdoor lights, which will turn on when they detect activity.
Monitor your home’s security while you are away. While you are away for extended periods of time, such as a vacation, it is important to regularly monitor and check in on your home’s security. Many homeowners leave a spare key with their neighbor to check in on their home. But what happens if you forget to leave a spare key or don’t have time to get one made? With Kwikset Kevo, you can instantly share lock user management with your neighbor or a trusted person through your smartphone. Simply send an eKey to anyone you trust who you would like to have access to your home. When you return home, you can easily remove access as well.
With these tips, you can better secure your home while you are away on vacation.
U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation. Burglary – Crime in the United States 2009. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.
Davis, Paul. Business Know How. Burglary: The Silent Crime. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.
WikiHow. How to Burglarproof Your Doors. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.