Having your home broken into is a scary event. You feel violated. You feel scared. You can no longer sleep at night, worrying if the burglars are going to break in again. I know this because I’ve had my home broken into before. It’s disturbing to know that someone had been watching my house to keep track of our daily routine. The crazy thing is, we don’t really have a set routine for every day, but that week I had been taking care of my mother post-surgery on my days off of work.
I returned home one evening to find the side door wide open. I broke out in a cold sweat and my legs turned to jelly. I immediately ran to my nearby neighbor, who was a police officer and told him what was going on. I hadn’t entered my house because I wasn’t sure if the intruders were still inside. My neighbor pulled out his gun and entered my house, going room to room as I called 911.
The loss of our personal belonging and our ransacked house was nothing compared to my loss of security. I also learned about homeowner’s insurance and what is really covered and what isn’t covered. When I was scheduled to work nights, I couldn’t sleep during the day while home alone. I was afraid the intruders would return and take our replaced goods. They were still at large and I was very, very afraid. I ended up with early contractions from the stress and lack of sleep and was eventually hospitalized to stop the contractions. I ended up delivering prematurely and never felt safe in that home again. We eventually moved into a different neighborhood and added even more security measures to our home.
Now when I travel, I am extra cautious, because using social media also makes me a target to the really bad people out there in this world. Here are some tips (besides the obvious one of locking your doors and windows) and precautions I recommend to help secure your home when you are traveling:
Hire a Housesitter – If we are traveling as entire family, we hire a house-sitter so that there is always someone at our house while we are away. One of the biggest perils of home security is leaving your home empty. Plus, we also have someone to take care of our pets while we’re away.
Get a Dog – A big deterrent for break-ins is by having a dog inside your home. Our dog is pretty sweet, but let there be a crack in the front door while FedEx or UPS is making a delivery and he takes off after the delivery man, chasing the poor guy back to his truck. He also alerts us when anyone steps foot in our driveway that isn’t supposed to be there. How he can sense this, I don’t question, but I’m really glad to have our dog as part of our family.
Install Security Cameras – I tested out the Logitech Alert 750i Master System* which not only show a visual of certain areas, it also transmits audio. The cameras are motion activated and send an alert to my phone with the images. We have various cameras installed in hidden areas both inside and out around the perimeter of our home. I have the local law enforcement number programmed into my phone and should the camera be activated with a person or vehicle we don’t recognize, law enforcement can be there in a matter of moments. This system is affordable compared to others and is easy to set up. We liked it so much while testing it that we invested in a few more cameras to add to the system.
Install an Audible Monitored Alarm – We have a monitored security system with motion detectors and sensors at every window and door. Sure, there are probably ways to get around this, if someone is determined to get into our home, however they would have to go to some serious effort.
Stop your mail and newspaper - A big indicator that your home is vacant is when mail and newspapers pile up outside. You can arrange to have your mail held at your local post office until you return. You can also call your newspaper and have delivery halted for the days you’ll be away.
Enlist Law Enforcement Assistance - If you live in a small city like I do, law enforcement can be a big help and another set of eyes to watch over your property. My police station will send a marked car to drive around the neighborhood and check things out at my house.
Tell your neighbors – My neighborhood is great and we all keep watch on each other’s properties. We make sure to let our neighbors know when we’re away and they give us a call if something seems out of place whether we’re out of town or just at work for the day.
Don’t Leave Trash Cans Outside – You may want to put the trash out when you leave town, but who will bring your trash can back in? Seeing an empty trash can sitting by the road for days is a sure sign that no one is home.
These suggestions won’t guarantee that your home will not be burglarized, but putting a few of these security measures in place will definitely deter criminals from gaining access into your home when you’re away. It personally gives me peace of mind to know that I’ve done everything possible to keep my home secure.
* The Logitech Alert Master System was sent to me as a review product. Our family liked it so much that we personally invested in additional cameras to add to the system. It retails for $299 which may seem hefty for some, but when compared to a $3,000 quote from a local home security company for a similar product, I think this is a great deal.