A few tips on how to keep your home safe when you’re away with the kids
*Guest Post from Banham
Going away with the little ones can be an unforgettable experience, but you can never be too careful. Security experts at Banham have pointed out that thieves can tell if you’re away on holiday in an article on how burglars target houses. These “tell-tale signs” can turn your home into a very attractive prospect. To make sure your house remains safe and sound while you’re on your travels, here are some practical steps you can take.
Call on your neighbours for a helping hand
For busy parents, neighbours can be a godsend, whether it’s keeping an eye on the kids while you head out, or accepting parcel deliveries when you’re not there. So it makes sense that before you go away on holiday, you should make sure you knock on your neighbours’ front door.
There are several ways, both large and small, that helpful neighbours can protect your empty home. As a start, they can use your driveway as their own. With a car coming and going on a regular basis, your home will look far from uninhabited.
If you and your neighbours are really friendly, and you trust them with their own set of keys, asking them to pick up your mail, open and close your curtains, and turn off and on your lights will again create the impression that someone is home. Not least because someone is home frequently throughout the day—it just isn’t you!
As you’ll be well aware, we’ve seen a ton of new apps and devices come along and make parenting much easier in the last few years. You’ll be pleased to hear that new technology can help keep your house safe when you and the kids are on holiday as well.
Firstly, some apps can work wonders to create the impression that people are living out their day to day lives in your empty house, by turning your lights off and on on a timer. Timers like these are recommended by the Crime Prevention Website as an effective means of repelling burglars. Just make sure your timer is configured to a natural schedule; leaving multiple lights on for 12 hours at a time could inadvertently end up drawing attention to your property and reveal that you’re using a timer.
As well as light timers, it’s worth investing in a ‘fake TV’ flicker light. These devices recreate the effects a TV would have on the rest of the room by projecting different coloured lights in a random pattern. With one of these, it will look even more like someone’s walking from room to room, turning off and on the lights, and catching up on a bit of TV.
There are other high-tech devices that can help strengthen the illusion that your house is occupied. Smart doorbells, allow you to actually answer the door directly from your holiday destination. These doorbells come with built-in cameras which send feeds to your mobile phone when ringed. You can then choose to ignore the caller, or talk to them through a built-in speaker. If it’s someone you trust, you can tell them you’re on holiday. If it’s someone you don’t know, you can tell them to go away.
Consider waiting to post online about being away (until you get home)
It’s tempting to want to stack your Instagram full of holiday pics, especially when the kids look so adorable, but from a safety standpoint this can be an issue. Figures published in the Metro reveal that over three quarters of burglars use social media to pick potential targets. If a criminal uses social media to find out where you live, and then sees an update posted from Walt Disney World, they’ll know your home is likely to be empty.
If you do want to post holiday pictures online (and really, who doesn’t?) you have to go about it the right way. Check your privacy settings to make sure updates are only visible to close friends and relatives—in other words, people who won’t steal from you—at least for the duration of your trip. That way burglars will have no way of knowing that your house is unoccupied, especially if you have your lights on a timer and your neighbours coming and going. If you’re unsure whether your social media updates are widely available, it’s best to wait until you get home before you put pictures of your little ones in their oversized sunglasses on the net.