security cameraAfter reading Priyank’s encounter with a burglar in his home I began to think about how vulnerable our dwellings are, especially when we’re not in them. Travelers who will be gone for even a few days from their homes can take a few simple measures to protect them and deter thieves.

We take so many precautions to protect the things we travel with and you should do the same for all the things you leave behind.

  • Install A Fake Security Camera – Most of the precautions you need to take are about deterrence since you won’t be able to stop a burglar once their inside. Install a fake security camera above each door to your home. Amazon sells a pretty convincing pair for about $20 each.
  • Make A Sign For Your Home Monitoring  Service – Print and laminate a lawn sign for name-your-own home monitoring service or replicate one by ADT, Brinks, or any well-known local name in your area. Study after study shows these are just as effective as the actual alarm systems for warding off crooks (who just move on to the next house).
    • Used signs can also be found on eBay.
  • Talk To Your Nosey Neighbors – We’ve all got that person on the block or in our apartment building that just has to know what everyone is up to. As annoying as they are, these people are great security resources. If they’re friendly ask them to keep an eye on your place and give your friend (someone who lives nearby) a ring if they see anything suspicious.
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    • Use a temporary SkypeIn number to maintain your privacy and get international calls.
    • Have the gossiping goose pick up your newspaper deliveries.
    • Beware they’ll want to know all about your trip!
  • Get Lit Up – Buy and install a light timer or two on the main level and bedroom of your home. Have them go off for a few hours at night and in the morning before the sun rises. Buy a light sensitive base (can be found at most hardware stores) for your outdoor light bulbs so they’ll turn on when it gets dark.
  • Turn Your Laptop Into A Motion Detecting Camera – Download either Yawcam or Dorgem to any old computer you have lying around and setup a low budget webcam covering the most trafficked part of your house. Both of these free programs will automatically start recording and snapping shots when they detect any motion in front of the camera and will upload the images to an FTP server so you can view them from the Internet. Although this won’t prevent a crime it gives you powerful evidence to potentially capture the bad guys.
  • Encrypt Your Data – Keep your data safe as you would from the TSA.
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Finally, make sure you do the simple things by locking all of the doors and windows, leaving some of the blinds half open (to give the appearance the place is occupied). It may take some initial effort but these tips, especially the first and second ones, can help protect your home all of the time – not just when you’re traveling.

I’d like to hear your comments if home security is even a concern for you when your off jaunting around the world and what you do to keep home safe while you’re away.

[photo by: Ie Korrigan]