As one of the most common times of the year to go on vacation, summer is also the most likely time of the year to get robbed. Burglaries are highest in August, followed by July and September. Further, Friday is the favorite day of the week for burglars to ransack your house. It’s also been recorded by the FBI that burglary is the most common threat to your home, so we’re offering a few suggestions to make sure your home and belongings are protected this summer; we’re also offering some heavy warnings about the social media over-sharing.
1. Stop with the status updates, check ins and photo sharing
The first piece of advice and probably the most important advice, is to not tell the social media world that you’re out of town. This may seem obvious, but many people can’t resist announcing to the world that they’re going on a 10-day escape to Hawaii. What’s more shocking is that you may have met the culprit that plans to break into your home. For example:
A few years ago, a friend disclosed to me that her parents’ home had been robbed while they were on vacation. One of the family members posted about the trip on Facebook. When they came home, some of their jewelry and electronic devices were gone. The police officer that handled the robbery was able to connect the robbery to a local teen that struggled with drug addition. It was also discovered that the teenager was the son of one of the family member’s Facebook friends. Moral of the story: don’t talk about your vacation until you’ve returned home. This same rule applies for checking in at your resort in Cancun or posting a photo of yourself at the swim up bar. It makes it extremely obvious that you’re many, many miles away from your home.
2. Adjust your privacy settings on social media
As we’ve proven earlier, it’s easy for friends, or friends of friends to see the status updates on social media that lead to the decision to break into your home. If it’s too tempting for you to not discuss your vacation plans, at least adjust your privacy settings. Make sure that your status updates only go out to close friends. Also, turn off your geo-location services. Most mobile apps are programmed to automatically track your location. This is a setting that you can and should turn off when you’re out of town. Why? Even if you don’t tell people where you are, if you post a photo of yourself, there are ways to see where the photo was taken, if location services are turned on.
3. Don’t let your home appear vacant
Burglars look for several physical signs to determine if you’re out of town. If you’re proactive, almost all of them can be disguised. Firstly, your mailbox is a big giveaway. If you have a stuffed mailbox, it’s a sign that no one has been around recently. A phone call to your post office can halt your mail deliveries while you’re out of town. Secondly, your front yard can reveal a lot about you. Make sure to mow your lawn and thoroughly water plants the day before you go out of town. It will keep the yard looking fresh and regularly maintained. Lastly, schedule lights to go on during the evenings. Lights will automatically deter a burglar from going near your home.
4. Reach out to your real life friends for help
With the amount of time that people spend on social media today, it felt necessary to remind our readers that they should reach out to people in the real world for help. Let a trusted neighbor or friend know that you will be out of town. They may be able to park their car in your driveway while you’re away or clear out a package on your front doorstep. Most importantly, they will be more alert to suspicious activity at your home and can have police check-in on your home, if necessary.
Do you have any other suggestions to add to this list? Price Self Storage wishes you a fun summer and to keep your belongings safe!