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Keeping your Home Safe While Away

Oct 31, 2023

If you’ve ever been away from your home for a prolonged period, you understand the unique anxiety that can come from uncertainty surrounding your home’s safety. While thoughts often revolve around ovens left on or doors left unlocked, would-be perpetrators of break-and-enters tend to target homes that appear unoccupied.

November is National Community Safety and Crime Prevention Month, and the Canada Safety Council asks: do you know how to keep your home safe while away?

According to police-reported crime statistics via Statistics Canada, breaking-and-entering crimes declined by more than 20 per cent between 2017 and 2021. Some context is required here, of course – the time frame represented in this data coincides with the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, in which Canadians were encouraged not to leave their homes more than necessary.

With travel restrictions and many workplaces returning to office work, homes are left empty more frequently than at the height of the pandemic. Leaving the home shouldn’t mean living in fear, but it is still far more prudent to mitigate potential risks before they become reality.

Gareth Jones

President and CEO, Canada Safety Council

Leaving your home unattended for an extended period can be worrisome when it comes to security. However, there are strategies you can use to create the illusion that your home is still occupied, which can help deter potential burglars and keep your property and community safe.

Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Home Safe

Use timers for lights and electronics. Plugging in lights and televisions to a timer can enable them to be turned on and off at specific times of the day, giving the impression that someone is home.

Install motion-activated lights. If someone should approach your home while you’re away, motion-sensor lights can trigger automatically and make it appear as though someone is keeping a watchful eye.

Keep your property maintained. If you’re planning to be gone for more than a few days, enlist the help of a friend, neighbour, or family member to water your plants, mow your lawn, and collect mail and packages. An unkempt yard or unattended packages can indicate that no one is home.

Save social media posts until after your return. Broadcasting your whereabouts can also tell nefarious actors where you are not. Don’t advertise your travel plans online; wait until you return to post pictures and updates.

Use smart home technology. Smart home devices like security cameras and doorbell cameras can allow you to monitor your property remotely via an app. Some devices also offer the ability to speak through the doorbell to potential visitors.

Remember: the objective is to make it seem like your home is occupied, rendering it a less tempting target for burglars. Implement these strategies for added peace of mind and to keep both your property and community safe.

For more information, please contact:
Lewis Smith
Manager, National Projects, Canada Safety Council

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