If you’re going away this summer then it’s vital you ensure your property’s secure. After all, thieves find it easy to know when a property is empty, with over 80% of break-ins occurring when the occupant or home owner isn’t around. Here we look at precautions you can take to make sure your home and your belongings are secure while you’re enjoying your holiday.
Quick and simple precautions
Time is your ally if you’re a target of an attempted burglary, so make sure you’ve taken pre-emptive steps. Before you leave, double check that all doors and windows are firmly locked, as well as any garage doors or garden gates. The more time it’ll take a burglar to break in, they less likely they are to attempt it. Double-checking everything will also give you peace of mind - nobody wants to lounge around the pool wondering whether they’ve left the garage unlocked.
Additionally, before you leave your home, ensure that electronics and lights are switched off. A bedside lamp left on for over a week will not only cost you money, but could demonstrate to potential thieves that you’re away. Consider unplugging larger electrical items – such as TVs and washing machines – this will save you even more money.
Top tips for while you’re away
Most of the things you can do to protect your home are quick and simple.
Post: Post left in an overflowing letterbox is a telltale sign that the property’s been vacant for a lengthy period. Arrange for one of your neighbours or a family member to collect your post for you while you’re away. Alternatively, try Royal Mail’s Keepsafe system - they’ll store your mail for you and deliver it when you’re home.
Alarm: The simplest, but potentially most effective, preventative step. If you have a home alarm then ensure it’s activated as you leave. Double check this and leave the code with a neighbour or family member to use in case of emergency.
Tell your landlord: Finally, tell your landlord that you’re going away for a week or so. You’re probably not bound to tell them, under the terms of your tenancy agreement, but this way they know that there may be a problem if they get a call about the house. They might even offer to call in once or twice and check-up on things, if they live locally.
Making your home look occupied
If you don’t want your landlord to call in then at least having a trusted neighbour or family member do it for you is recommended.
This can help you avoid making decisions about whether to have blinds open or closed permanently during your absence. Having another car on the drive also demonstrates that there’s still regular activity. As a thank-you, a bottle from the duty-free should do the trick.
If you don’t have a local family member or haven’t lived in an area long enough to build this rapport with your neighbour, then there are several items you can buy to help:
- Automatic light timers are available from IKEA and Argos for around £10-£15 and will switch on at a time you set. This way you can ensure your home isn’t in total darkness for the duration of your holiday
- Timer switches are also available from DIY stores. These can programme your television or radio to turn on at certain times of the day for set durations
- If you’re a fan of higher-end technology, the Independent have listed their top 10 security gadgets
Don't advertise your unoccupied house to the masses
Telling you not to put up a public sign which tells people that your house is empty whilst you're on holiday might seem far-fetched, but burglaries often occur as a result of this.
That's because people often don't realise that posting a status on social media about you being away is basically the same thing. Never assume that only your friends see your posts - and don't forget that old posts can be used to figure out where you may live, or in what area.
To get around this, maybe consider posting your holiday photos in one single album when you're back. Or, if you're going to be posting whilst you're away, ask a friend or family member if they'd mind watching your property whilst you're travelling.