Although I live here in the Caribbean, security is not unique to geographic location. My suggestions for securing your Caribbean home are also relevent to home owners on the mainland or overseas. I hope these suggestions remind you to take your own security and safety seriously.
A home in the Caribbean can be the ultimate retreat for relaxing and enjoying life. Ideally, your biggest concern as a Caribbean homeowner should be whether it’ll be a good day fishing, and what tonight’s dinner special will be at your favorite restaurant. Often, though, owners of Caribbean homes find themselves worried about much more serious things. For example, is your home safe from theft and vandalism? Is it secure? And who, really, is in your house when you’re away?
Physical security of your home and property is critical, and we’ve laid out some basic security suggestions here. But consider this: all the best security doors, locks, and alarm systems mean nothing if you hand over the keys, the combinations, and the passwords to someone whose identity you haven’t checked. <!–more–>
Here, then, are five important steps you can take to keep your home safe:
1. Warn Away Intruders, Accidental or Otherwise
If your property is right near the beach or a popular walking spot, people might wander onto your property—some innocently, some not. The same applies in remote locations, where adventurous tourists might just wander in looking for a picnic spot or a pretty view—or thieves might be looking for an easy job. Make sure the perimeter of your property is clearly marked, so that people actually know when they are trespassing.
2. Keep Track of Your Keys
Second homeowners are notorious for handing out house keys like party favors. The cleaner has one. The realtor has one. The neighbor has one. Can you even name everyone who has a key to your house? And seriously, if you have one of those hide-a-key rocks, you may as well just leave the door unlocked. Spend some time thinking about how to limit the number of house keys you have floating around, and then change the locks if necessary. Or invest in a door lock with a keypad—and change the combination on a regular basis.
3. Knowledge Is Power
Install the appropriate level of security, so that if someone breaks in, you know it. Whether it’s a simple intruder alarm or a state-of-the-art home security system with monitoring and closed circuit TV, you should have in place some method to send out an alert when someone is inside your locked home.
4. Have a Plan
If you have some sort of alarm system, what will happen when the alarm goes off? You need to decide on a sensible plan. Does the alarm trigger a call to you? A call to a neighbor on the island? Are the police notified? If you’re in, say, Boston, should you be the first point of contact for the alarm company? Only you can decide the right answer—but think it through.
5. Know Who’s In Your House
With the only database of its kind in the Virgin Islands, BackgroundChecksVI.com allows you to do a fast and affordable background check on anyone and everyone who has access to your home. It’s easy, and it’s instant with BCVI’s online service. This quick check is especially important if you’re a vacation homeowner who relies on cleaners, contractors, property managers, and other service people to take care of your property in your absence.
Put these five steps into place right away. Then get back to your more pressing concerns. Like, where should you go to watch the sunset.