There is a big difference between residential burglaries in Vancouver and those in Whistler.
While the typical residential burglary in the city follows a consistent pattern that starts with a kicked-in front door, most thefts in Whistler seem to be committed by people with access to both a key and alarm code.
Coming home to a burglarized home is a lot more obvious when your front door has been kicked in. In Whistler, just because your door is locked and your alarm is armed doesn’t mean all of your belongings are exactly as you left them.
Three recent stories from clients (each of which occurred before they became Provident clients in Whistler) illustrate some of the security risks for Whistler, or vacation properties anywhere…
The ‘Who the hell are you?’ incident…
A Whistler homeowner who lives in the United States happened to be in Vancouver on a recent weekend. When their Saturday night plans fell through, they decided to head up to their Whistler cabin rather than stay in a hotel downtown.
When they walked through their front door in Whistler a little after 11pm, they were shocked to find their home already occupied. After a curt exchange of “who are you’s?”, it was determined that the people in the home were not burglars. It turned out they were renters who had paid in full for a week in the cabin.
It wasn’t a burglary, it was fraud.
To the surprise of the owner, their trusted, long-time cleaning lady had been renting out their cabin for several years. Because she had always been privy to the actual rental schedule, given she did pre & post cleans, she was able to develop a lucrative side gig of renting the cabin out on Craigslist for cash.
The ‘How was the wine?’ incident…
An owner arrived in Whistler and was dismayed to see two empty bottles from his special collection of wines (the cheaper of which was worth about $650) in the recycling bin. Given the fact that he was not using the alarm system at the time of the incident, he had no way of knowing who had accessed his home and enjoyed his wine.
The ‘That’s disgusting’ incident…
The third incident involved another client who arrived at their Whistler home to find their hot tub broken and a few things out of place inside the house. What really set the owners off, however, was finding a condom wrapper under the bed in their master bedroom.
With a lockbox outside the house, the code for which is known by several local service providers, determining who was ‘enjoying’ their home in their absence was not possible.
In my experience, the attitude towards security in Whistler tends to be on the extremes… people seem to be either incredibly security conscious and want to put every possible measure in place, or they leave a key in a lockbox, subscribing to the idea that “there’s nothing to steal anyways”.
As more incidents like these occur, people are tending to move from the ‘there are no security issues in Whistler’ camp, directly to the ‘we have a major security problem in Whistler’ camp. The reality is that the risk in Whistler is very easy to manage. Crooks are taking advantage of the most basic weaknesses in people’s security.
The solutions are simple:
1. Stop sharing your alarm code.
Every user of your alarm system should have a unique code. There is no reason to share user codes.
Right now is a perfect time to change your alarm codes. All of them.
Provident can remotely add, modify or delete user codes for your alarm at anytime upon your request. We can also provide detailed user reports that outline exactly who accessed your home, and when, at any time (or set up a regular report to be emailed to you every day, week, month or other frequency you would prefer).
Click here to learn why controlling alarm codes is such an important first step.
2. Get rid of your lockbox.
While it may be convenient to have a lockbox outside your Whistler home, there is very little security. Given that most Whistler homeowners are away from their homes for extended periods of time (or most of the time), there is little stopping an unscrupulous service provider who has been given access to your lockbox once (or gained easy access using a hammer) from making a duplicate copy for future use.
Provident provides 24/7 key control and can respond at any time to provide a key to anyone who requires legitimate access to your home. There is no need to leave your keys, unsecured, outside your home.
Everyone likes to be able to trust people, but nobody likes to be taken advantage of. By making it clear, up front, that you take security seriously in your Whistler home (by ensuring each of your service providers understand that the alarm code you give them is unique to them and will create an indelible record) our experience has been that people have far fewer problems than those who simply hope for the best and assume that everyone they deal with will be completely honest with them.