10 tips to keep your home safe while traveling this holiday season.

If you are planning a trip to visit loved ones this holiday season, or simply “Getting away from it all” you may find these 10 Tips helpful with keeping your home safe while you’re out of town.

10. Suspend mail and newspaper delivery

Don’t let the mailbox overflow or newspapers pile up. These are sure signs your home may be lacking its owners. Sign up online to have the USPS hold mail at your local post office for free for 30 days. On a longer trip, consider forwarding mail to your “away” location if possible.

9. Keep valuables out of sight

Close the blinds or curtains in rooms with large electronics, such as TVs and home entertainment components. Put gaming consoles, handheld devices, credit cards, cash, or jewelry in unassuming boxes inside a closet or places least likely to be searched. If you have a non-movable safe, even better. Movable safes can be carried away (maybe not such a safe–safe).

8. Make your home looks like you never left

When at home lights turn on and off and cars come and go. When away, everything stops. To make it appear that business is being conducted as usual, invest in light timers that simulate normal home life. Do the same for decorative holiday lighting. Also, ask a neighbor to take out the garbage and put the bins back after pickup. If you really trust them, ask to have your cars moved every few days.

7. Pull the plug on big-ticket electronics (literally)

Unplugging nonessential electronics: TVs, computers, coffee makers, fans etc., will reduce the risk of  fire and also save some money. To further this point, if fire risk is reduced the savings are much more than just money. The power utilized by larger electronics, sometimes called vampire devices because they constantly suck electricity, can account for up to 10% of your energy bill. That’s a decent chunk. Save that 10% for other uses.

6. Remove Your Spare Key

That plastic rock isn’t fooling anyone. If a criminal figures out you’re away on vacation, it’s likely that he or she will check your porch for a spare key. So reach under the mat, into the mailbox, above the door frame, or into the flower pot and remove your spare key before you leave on your vacation.

5. Don’t tip off criminals

Don’t blab about your lengthy trip on social media. It’s fairly well-known that most internet-based “sharing” is no longer exclusive to only your close group. Posting pics of your family in Rome one day, then in Morocco the next, is a sure sign you’re not expected home anytime soon. This provides a good opportunity for unfriendlies to think bad thoughts about your belongings. And, be careful what type of outgoing message is left on an answering machine or voicemail. Callers don’t need to know details; they just need to know you can’t answer the phone immediately.

4. Do tip-off authorities

Notify local law enforcement if going on vacation. In most cities, they’ll drive by your house while on patrol. Do the same with the alarm service and Neighborhood Watch program. If a friend is helping out, pass along their contact information (with their approval) to authorities in case of an emergency.

3. Lock everything

This is a step that’s easy to forget, yet the most simple. Shut and lock all windows and doors. It’s also important to make sure interior lights are visible from the street.

2. Install a video doorbell

A video doorbell allows you to answer the front door from anywhere. Each time someone rings the bell, an alert is sent to your mobile phone. The added benefit is seeing and speaking to the person in real-time which also creates the illusion you’re inside the home. If away from the device, access to a log of video clips is available and can be viewed at a later time. Ring, SkyBell, and Arlo also have motion detection capabilities: an alert will be activated even if the actual bell isn’t. These systems are especially helpful for capturing package grabbing thieves.

1. Install a customized home security package

We’re in an era where a house can practically think for itself. As Smart Homes become more common and ubiquitous, the less a homeowner will have to worry about residential theft prevention. The ability exists to monitor and control just about everything connected to the home. Technical convenience comes from security cameras, video doorbells, remote lighting, automated electrical outlets, window and door sensors, shades control, flood sensors, motion detection, Bluetooth door locks, climate controllable thermostats, and others on a constantly expanding list. Every one of these devices helps protect possessions and ensure peace of mind when at home or away. The benefits are — priceless.

If you need assistance expanding your home’s IQ, please contact us.

We specialize in Home Intelligence.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season!
Dave “Keeping you safe” Lopez
Harbor Home Technology
(310) 925-4159

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