This is the time of year when many Tucsonans drive up to Payson, Pinetop-Lakeside, Show Low, or Alpine and start locking down summer homes. As Tucson’s temperature become pleasant, there’s no need to drive 200 miles to get out of the heat. Besides, most of the cities in which Tucsonans vacation in the summer are cold or snowy in the winter.

If I were to try to think with a criminal mind, then I have to be thinking that there are a LOT of empty homes up along the Mogollon Rim ripe for the picking and they will be staying empty until maybe May.

Burglars know that summer homes are not that much different than regular homes. People from Tucson and Phoenix use summer homes on weekends or for vacations because they provide an opportunity to escape the scorching heat. And they truly are second homes, having all the amenities—TVs, computers, clothes, appliances—that any home has.

Now that it’s December, you’ll do what you do every year; you’ll drive the 200 miles for the last time this year so you can secure your summer home for the winter. You’ll shut off the water at the main shutoff valve, turn the heat down to around 50 degrees to keep any water left in the pipes from freezing, turn off the gas, clean-out the fridge and unplug it, check that the gutters are clean, lock the windows and the doors. Then you’ll be ready to go, except for one thing: nothing about what you’ve just done will prevent a burglar from breaking in as soon as your car drives out of sight, and you won’t know about it until A) perhaps the police call you, should they happen upon your home with all the windows broken, or B) you excitedly return in May to find it unnecessary to open up your summer home because some criminal opened it up about two hours after you closed it.

So now you’re sitting in your Tucson home and probably a little worried about your summer home, but don’t be; it’s not hard to secure your summer home. Let’s go back to thinking like a criminal.

While there are plenty of summer homes in the high country, there are also plenty of occupied, year-‘round homes. One thing most burglars hate is being sociable, so they’re not looking to run into people. Therefore, as in any home, you can discourage burglars by making it look like there are people in the house. That can be accomplished with a smart light and appliance module, which can turn lights and appliances on throughout your house. Program the lights and TV or mix it up and turn things on and off on the fly using your phone or tablet.

Another thing burglars will avoid is a home with a security system. Besides being unsociable, burglars are notoriously camera shy, so it’s a good idea to put wi-fi outdoor cameras around, not just as a deterrent or because catching criminals on camera may help later in apprehending or identifying them; with wireless outdoor cameras, you can monitor your property at any time via streaming video to your phone or tablet.

Being able to view the perimeter of your home isn’t just handy in observing the criminal elements; outdoor cameras can give you peace of mind when dealing with natural elements as well. Should there be a storm or flooding in the area, you can check your property day or night to be certain everything is well.

A burglar who isn’t certain if a home is occupied may ring the doorbell and see if anyone answers. It’s an old but effective ruse. Go to the door a few times over the course of a couple of days and if no one ever answers, it’s a safe assumption the home is empty. Now, however, you can outsmart the criminals there, too.

The wi-fi doorbell camera has a motion sensor, so even if an unwanted visitor knocks, the camera is activated and the homeowner is notified. Then, on any mobile device, see who is at the door and speak to them via two-way audio. The visitor will have no way of knowing if you’re on the other side of the door or the other side of the world.

The final line of defense for vulnerable summer homes are the various sensors and detectors available to let homeowners know that someone is actually breaking in or is already in the house. Our wireless door and window sensors will notify you whenever a door or window is opened, and the police will be dispatched. The sensors can also be used on drawers or cabinets.

Glass break detectors detect the audio frequency of breaking glass and immediately notify you and the police if a window is broken for any reason.

Use a motion sensor in conjunction with door and window sensors and glass break detectors and you’ll know immediately if anyone violates the sanctity of your vacation home.

Don’t spend the winter months worrying about your summer home. Contact Connect Security for a free quote and you’ll know that your summer home will be protected from criminals all year long.

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