Don't Let a Burglar Ruin Your Family Vacation

With Summer right around the corner, you may already be planning a well-deserved family vacation. But do you know what you need to do to protect your home while you're gone? As a family from La Grange, Chicago recently found out, there's a lot more involved than what you might think.

As reported by, the above-mentioned family had packed up and headed out for their vacation. Not long after they left, they realized they had left something at home, so they turned the car around and drove back to the house. When they discovered their home was in the process of being robbed.

Fortunately, the police were able to apprehend the three suspects involved in the above burglary, and all of the family's belongings were returned. Nonetheless, their family vacation was ruined.

It's obvious that the suspects in this particular burglary were aware that the family was going to be gone for awhile—or so they thought. While the facts of how they knew aren't known, it's not difficult to guess. Many homeowners mistakenly communicate that they're going to be gone for awhile, both directly and indirectly.

To ensure you don't make the common mistakes that leave your home at risk of being burglarized during your family vacation this summer, be sure to incorporate the following home security tips into your plans.

Be extra careful about the information you share across your social networks. Using today's popular social networks and mobile phone apps to post photos and updates of your comings and goings is a great way to keep your family and friends in the know. But using them to plan and post information about your family vacation can be a crucial mistake.

No matter how excited you are about your trip, the more people you tell about your vacation, the higher the risk of that information falling into the wrong hands.

Keep in mind that the true purpose of your family vacation is to get away and have some fun with those who mean the most to you. So play it safe, and save all of those pictures and commentary until after you return home.

Put your mail and newspapers on hold. Burglars look for homes that have newspapers and/or mail stacking up outside, as this is a common indicator that no one is home or tending to the house. Before leaving on vacation, submit the proper request through your local post office to have your mail put on hold. If you have a newspaper delivered, contact the publisher and ask that they stop the paper while you're gone.

Avoid making it obvious that you're leaving for vacation. Many homeowners make it blatantly obvious that they're going to be gone for a few days. One of the most common mistakes is loading up the car with luggage and other gear, then having the family pile in before driving away. Parking a camper or RV in front of your house several hours before you leave also lets people know you're not going to be home for awhile.

To avoid making it obvious that you and your family are going on vacation, load your luggage in the car the night before you leave when it's dark and less conspicuous. Also, avoid taking everything out to the car at the same time.

Keep in mind that campers and RVs are like huge neon signs that say, "We're not going to be home for the next few days!" So if you're going to be using one during your vacation this summer, consider parking it down the street, or at the home of a nearby friend or family member. You can use your car to transport your luggage and other gear in a few small trips.

Ask a friend or neighbor to move your vehicle for you from time to time. Even if you normally keep your vehicle(s) in the garage, having a car parked in the driveway or by the curb in front of your house can give the appearance that someone is home. If you don't have an extra vehicle to rotate back and forth while you're away, ask a trusted neighbor to park their car in your driveway every now and then.

Use indoor light timers while you're away. Light timers are designed to turn select lights inside your home on and off at specific or random intervals, making it look as if someone is home. Like fake home surveillance cameras, light timers can be effective psychological deterrents.

Light timers are fairly inexpensive devices and very easy to install. You only need two or three in various rooms of your home. Timers that turn lights on and off at "random" intervals are highly recommended, as there is no specific pattern to when they are activated. They can keep even the most experienced of criminals guessing.

Fortify your entry doors and windows. As every career security professional knows, locked doors and windows are the most common sources of entry for criminals. If you want to keep the bad guys out, you need to make it more difficult to break in.

One of the best ways to prevent a would-be intruder from breaking into your home is to fortify your entry doors and windows with an extra layer of security. For entry doors, a quality door brace that's capable of withstanding over 1700 pounds of brute force can be highly effective in preventing the heftiest of criminals from busting through them. For at-risk windows, add a layer of security glass film that can withstand multiple blows by a large rock, hammer, and even a baseball bat.

Most burglars will only invest a couple of minutes of their time attempting to break into a home. Spending more time than that significantly increases their chance of being caught in the act. This is what makes security door braces and window films so effective. Burglars usually give up and flee the scene because the attention-getting effort, time, and noise required to break through these protective devices just aren't worth the risk.

Discuss your "home security while on vacation" rules with every member of your family. The plans you put in place to keep your home protected while you're on vacation need to be followed by every member in your family. So be sure to thoroughly discuss the rules with your spouse and children ahead of time. While you don't want to strike fear in their minds, it's extremely important that your children understand the risks involved in publicizing your family vacation. Don't just tell them what not to do, explain "why."

If you don't think your children will be able to resist the urge of posting a picture or comment that lets everyone know you're away on vacation, suspend the use of their cell phones and Internet access while you're gone. Not only will they survive, they'll learn the true meaning and purpose of a "family" vacation—as well as an important lesson on home security.

Jordan Frankel, commonly known as The Security Sensei develops revolutionary security products and solutions that protect both lives & property. Countless agencies and corporations such as NASDAQ, the US Military, and law enforcement entrust Mr. Frankel with their security and safety. Jordan Frankel is also frequent media guest addressing the personal and financial consequences associated with home invasions, burglaries and other serious threats. In addition, Mr. Frankel's security products & inventions have been featured on Oprah, FOX news and in countless publications. Jordan's ability to outsmart the proverbial bad guys - coupled with his commitment to making security an affordable reality for everyone is the key to Global Security Experts Inc success. Mr. Frankel (The Security Sensei) is available for media interviews by appointment only.

Mr. Frankel is a proud member of:

The American Society for Industrial Security.

The International Association for Counter Terrorism & Security.

The Society of Professional Locksmiths.