Security Considerations for Vacation Homeowners in Oceanside, CA

Oceanside, California is a large coastal city in San Diego County. Although almost 200,000 people call it home, this number is slightly misleading. In fact, the city’s population is constantly shifting, as its immediate proximity to the beach and year-round sunny skies and moderate temperatures make it one of California’s most lucrative vacation home real estate markets. This trend also manifests itself in a proliferation of vacation rentals, in the form of both single-family homes and condos. As a result, housing costs are unsurprisingly high, and real-estate markets continue steadily to appreciate.

Its popularity as a vacation destination also helps contribute to a large percentage of foreign-born residents. More than 20% of individuals living in Oceanside were born outside the U.S. Measures currently underway to improve the downtown area are intended to bring even more tourists and other outsiders to the area. In 2014, a variety of attractions including new hotels and restaurants, and a new sports complex were approved for construction. These measures are intended to place the city on the map as a tourist destination in its own right, instead of relying on surrounding areas and the city’s beach appeal. The added influx of people is likely to come with both positive and negative effects. More tourists mean more revenue for the city and its residents.

However, more people coming into a community without forming meaningful community ties has also shown itself across the country to be a precursor to increases in crime. When compared currently to other cities of its size, particularly in California, Oceanside has fairly average crime rates across the board. Both levels of violent crime and property crime are actually slightly below the national average for all communities of all sizes. Only 23.21 residents out of every 1,000 become victims of property crime, in comparison to the national average of 26.0. Those who own vacation homes may not want to be lulled into a false sense of security by these statistics. Burglars do not consider all homes equal when it comes to choosing a target, and those that go unoccupied are much more likely to be targeted.


A LA Times report describes the thought process robbers sometimes go through when choosing a target, and points out that a vacation home can often appear uniquely accessible as a target. This is particularly true in areas where many property owners only live there part time. According to the article, most burglars stay close to their home territories so as not to attract attention. In a city as large as Oceanside, this does not provide much comfort to individuals and families living far from their vacation homes in the off-season. Many sources suggest informing other nearby households before leaving for prolonged vacations, but well-intentioned neighbors can only help so much.

Experienced burglars often employ insidious tricks to gain access to a home without attracting undue attention. They rent vans and dress up like repairmen, or even house movers, often showing up in broad daylight and making off with entire rooms before anyone is the wiser. In areas where many inhabitants leave for months at a time, there may not even be anyone there to act as a witness. Most homeowners, whether they are permanent residents or only seasonal, know what kind of basic precautions to take while away on vacation. Stop the newspaper delivery, have mail held or forwarded, and ensure that the surrounding landscape remains well-maintained. However, these measures will not be enough to fool an experienced burglar or vandal. Stepping up security is a must for those who own vacation homes.

Simple alarm systems, such as wireless door and window alarms, can help deter potential burglars, even in the off-season when no one is at home. For some, though, they may not be enough. Today’s technology allows homeowners to install security cameras that can be monitored remotely from smartphones, timed or remotely controlled lights and electronics, and motion sensored outdoor lights. These comprehensive security systems cost significantly more money, but vacation home owners are buying more than just additional security measures for their things.

They are also buying the peace of mind of knowing at all times that their homes are safe. Some homeowners even go one step further, and hire caretakers during the off-season. This precautionary route comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Having an actual person present in the home will certainly deter burglars, but many homeowners are uncomfortable with the idea of allowing a stranger into their home while they are away. Those who choose to go this route should only hire caretakers from reputable companies that perform background checks and offer adequate insurance policies.

Another interesting option is renting out the property as a fully-furnished vacation home when not in use. This brings homeowners extra income instead of coming with an exorbitant cost, and thorough background checks can help to mitigate potential damages done by unruly or untrustworthy tenants. Those who choose to go this route should, as potential landlords, still take adequate precautions against property crime. Not only will a security system help to protect the landlord’s remaining possessions, but it will also increase the safety and security of tenants.

No matter how trustworthy tenants, or even private caretakers, may appear to be, there is always a risk of misjudgment on the part of the property owner. It’s a good idea to remove anything of extremely high value from the property prior to allowing someone else into the home. The same advice applies to those who choose to leave their vacation homes vacant. All valuable jewelry and reasonably small expensive electronics should be placed in a safe deposit box, or brought along for safe keeping.