Cape Cod, like any other vacation destination, has a large number of vacation homes that are unoccupied during the off-season. These homes are easy targets for break-ins if they are not secured properly while the owners are away.
Protecting your vacation home while you are away during the off-season should be a priority.
Many unoccupied seasonal homes are broken into during the off-season.
Preparing your home before you head off on an extended vacation or away for the off-season will minimize the chances of a break-in while you are gone. Some common sense and these tips securing your home will give you peace of mind while you are away.
Nothing will ruin a long vacation or the off-season like getting back and finding out your home got broken in to while you were gone.
Follow these common sense security tips to keep your home from being an easy target for thieves.
- Notify your caretaker and your local police that you are going away and when you will return but don’t publicize your vacation plans.
- Arrange to have someone pick up your newspapers and mail, or forward your mail and cancel newspaper delivery. Piles of mail and newspapers are a sure sign no one is around.
- Secure your home by locking all the windows and doors. Draw the shades or blinds in the windows at the back of the house. Secure any outbuildings or sheds.
- Set your lights on timers to turn outside and inside lights on and off automatically. If at all possible, vary the times.
- Consider getting a fake TV light and a radio and putting them on timers as well.
- Check your outside lights and replace old bulbs with long lasting LED or fluorescent bulbs. You don’t want your lights burning out while you are away for the off-season.
- If possible, have someone check your house periodically or hire a security patrol company to do exterior home checks while you are away.
- If you are securing your home for the off-season, keep in mind that power outages may trigger conventional wired alarm systems. Install a wireless cellular alarm system with a low temperature/freeze sensor and a water/flood sensor if you are to be away for long periods of time.
- Unplug all unnecessary appliances.
- If you are going away for the winter and not leaving the heat on, drain your plumbing system to prevent frozen pipes, flooding and water damage.
- Mow your lawn and cleanup the yard before you leave to make your home looked cared for (lived in). Have someone maintain your yard periodically if you will be gone for an extended period of time.
- During the winter, arrange to have someone plow your driveway and shovel walkways when it snows. At the very least, have your caretaker walk from the street to your door several times to make your home look active.
- If your home has an active internet connection during the off season, consider installing a security camera system. You can buy pan/tilt infrared night vision wireless IP cameras for under $50. Even the cheap IP cams support motion activated alerts, which will send you an email with pictures of what is happening when the motion sensor is tripped. You can also have these alerts sent to a private security contractor that can assess the situation and take action on your behalf if necessary.
The bottom line here is to make your home looked lived in even when it is not. In the off-season, burglars will hit homes that are easy targets. If it doesn’t look like anyone has been to your vacation home in a while, it is safe for a thief to guess that it is unoccupied for the off-season.
Let the thieves target homes that do not follow these common sense home security tips.