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Home security checklist.

Summary: What to do before going on vacation?

Mohammad Meraj Hoda

Here are some extra precautions you should take before leaving for your vacation.

We all know that the holidays are a busy time of year. While we focus our efforts on shopping for the best online deals and planning the perfect holiday vacation, it's easy to overlook what goes on at our homes. But when we go away for vacations, we leave our homes vulnerable to break-ins and burglaries. So, this holiday season, use the security tips below to make sure your home is secure while you're away.

Burglars can't steal your property if they can't break into your house. Here are some extra precautions you should take before leaving for your vacation. Don't leave spare keys outside: Burglars are surprisingly good at finding spare keys. Before going away for the holidays, be sure to remove all spare keys from outside your property. You can also consider hiding fake spare keys in a key vault, which can delay a burglar from breaking into your home or prevent a break-in altogether. Your neighbours can be the best defence against burglars. If everyone in the neighbourhood takes care of one another, the burglars don't stand a chance. Please don't sacrifice security for convenience! Secure your entryways: Doors and windows are the most vulnerable areas of your home. In addition to double-checking your locks before you leave, consider these tips to secure your entryways:

- Replace hollow wooden doors with metal doors; burglars can easily kick through hollow wood. - Unplug your garage door opener, so it can't be opened with a universal remote. - Secure sliding doors with a long piece of wood or metal placed between the door and the wall. - Install deadbolts. Many robbers will break windows to unlock doors, but deadbolts that require keys will prevent this. Make it look like you're at home: Thieves know all the signs that show a family isn't home, and these signs are what drive burglars to break-in. As such, one of the most effective ways to prevent a burglary is by making it seem like you're at home, even when you're away. Simple things like leaving porch lights on, close the drapes so would-be intruders can't scope out the contents of your interior, as any expensive object in plain sight may tempt them or even ask a trusted neighbour, friend, or family member to stop by your home daily to pick up newspapers and double-check your locks to ensure that everything is secure once a week. Automate your home: New technology is making it easier to keep your home secure while you're away. With smart home devices, you can use automation to make burglars believe you're still at home while on vacation. Here's how: - Put lights on automatic timers, so they turn on during the night. - Use motion-activated outdoor lights that turn on every time someone steps on your property. - You can also get smart sockets, which let you plug in electronics and control them from an app, so you can turn them on while you're on vacation. Bonus tip: Don't just set your timers and forget them. Savvy burglars will recognise if the same lights turn on at the same times. Instead, vary your schedule, and use apps to manually turn on and off devices to confuse thieves. Get smart home security: Smart surveillance cameras and security devices can keep you connected to your home, even when you're halfway around the world. There are smart doorbell security products that send instant alerts to your smartphone, tablet or PC when anyone presses your doorbell or triggers its built-in motion sensors. And from the home security products available in the market, you can see, hear and speak to visitors while you're on vacation via an app on your phone. Hire a house sitter: Instead of making it look like someone's at home, you can hire a trustworthy house sitter to actually be at your home while you're away. The majority of burglaries occur because thieves recognise when a home is empty and vulnerable, but with a house sitter, your home will always be occupied. Avoid social media: Most people love sharing vacation updates on social media, but posting your travel plans on Facebook or Instagram is akin to putting a big sign in your front yard announcing that you'll be gone. Keep your property safe by telling only trusted friends about your vacation, and refrain from sharing photos until after you've returned home or if you're going to post your vacation on social media, do it privately.

- The writer is VP, Business Development at Ring.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jul 31, 2018
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