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Using RFID to Prevent Property Theft

Vacation rentals are on the rise - how can property owners protect valuables?

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Chances are, you've stayed at a short-term vacation rental at some point. Have you ever wondered what it's like to manage one of these properties?

RFID reader at entryway

According to Kirio, a smart home system company, one of the biggest issues short-term rental property managers face is theft. Kirio has come up with a simple solution to mitigate this risk. By applying RFID tags to valuables and oft-stolen items around the rental unit, and installing an RFID reader at entryways and doors, Kirio is able to scan for items leaving the unit. When a tagged item is removed from the property, the property owner is then notified via a subscription service.


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  • I like the general concept, though I can also see a few potential downfalls:

    • I'm not a lawyer (nor do I play one on TV), but it seems to me that you should consult an attorney, as it might be wise to at least mention the system in the "fine print" of the rental agreement

    • When it becomes even somewhat "widely used", the criminals will find ways around it, such as passing the stolen property through a window rather than carrying it through a door

    • Again, when it becomes a bit better known, the RFID readers themselves may become the "objects of affection" for the criminal elements, either being stolen or smashed, though a way around this problem is to have two (or more) at each door, with one being "obvious" (and sacrificial) and others being well hidden/disguised.

    Another thought occurs to me, that such a reader system might also go well in combination with security cameras trained at the entrances to the units. Two possibilities would be to have the RFID readers "trigger" the cameras (as well as sending out notifications) and the other would just entail both systems having accurate time stamps so that "events" could be correltated.

    And thinking a bit more about it, I'm wondering if having the RFID reader trigger some "announcement" (a stern voice announcing, for instance, "apparent theft of painting detected") might not have a good deterant value. And/or clearly visible signs about theft detection systems at the doors.

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